The Bellingham Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 165, and Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 19, are sponsoring a Faces of Agent Orange meeting from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19, at the Health Education and Community Conference Center, 3333 Squalicum Parkway. With the largest Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter in Washington and a county veteran population higher than the national average, a large turnout is expected. This meeting is being coordinated with Vietnam Vets in Canada, Chapter 75, and American Legion, Post 75, also in Canada, as a number of Canadian veterans were exposed to Agent Orange. Panel participants for this town hall include the founder of the Association of Vietnam Veterans of America as well as local, state and regional officers of the organization, each with Agent Orange-related conditions themselves or in their families.
The goals of the town hall meeting are to reach out to affected veterans and their families, raise awareness on medical conditions tied to Agent Orange, reach health practitioners and disability-related service agencies, develop a fresh approach to research and back legislation that facilitates research, care and compensation and to direct local services to veterans and their families.
In addition to information on Agent Orange, there will be information for newer veterans and their families including the effects of modern chemicals, “burn pits,” and depleted uranium ammunition.
It is also important to note that some veterans may not have served in Vietnam, but were exposed to Agent Orange by working with equipment and aircraft used to produce and distribute Agent Orange, or in the facilities used to store Agent Orange. This exposure may have come even after the war ended.