Members of the Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 215 in Kinder will co-host a town hall meeting on the exposure of Agent Orange on veterans and their families, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 19 a the W.B. Williamson American Legion Post 1 in Lake Charles. Shown preparing for the meeting are Chapter Vice President Richard Morgan, member Sandy Morgan, Vietnam Veterans of America State Council President Terry Courville, historian Sandra Lopez and member Perry Lopez. (Doris Maricle / American Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, September 28, 2013 1:29 PM
Effects of exposure to Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans and their offspring will be the focus of a town hall meeting hosted by the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 215 and American Legion Post 1.
The meeting will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, in W.B. Williamson American Legion Post 1, 1530 Ninth St.
A panel of veterans and veterans service representatives will be on hand to help Vietnam veterans and their families get answers to their questions about Agent Orange and other chemicals used in Vietnam and subsequent wars, according to Vietnam Veterans of America State Council President Terry Courville of Kinder. Retired Army Col. Don Lander will serve as moderator.
“Anybody who had boots down on the ground in Vietnam should attend the meeting because Agent Orange was used there, and its effects have been passed down through the generations,” Courville said. “We want to get the information to all of the veterans and their families about the problems of Agent Orange and what to do about it.”
Some experts estimate that 100,000 to half a million people may have been affected by Agent Orange, according to Courville.
“A lot of those people have already died from it, or their kids and grandkids are suffering from it,” he said.
Agent Orange and other herbicides were used in Vietnam to spray dense vegetation. It was also stored at military bases in the United States.
“We’d be in the jungles, and they’d come spraying the jungles, and all that fell down on us,” Courville said. “They would spray it, and the next day all the leaves were turning brown.”
Sandy Morgan, a member of Chapter 215, said many of the soldiers “inhaled and swallowed” Agent Orange.
“We want those attending the meeting to talk and tell us their stories and how we can help them,” she said.
Possible health effects of exposure to Agent Orange include Parkinson’s disease, cancer, spina bifida and heart disease in veterans and their families, including birth defects in their grandchildren.
“It should have never been sprayed around humans,” Chapter 215 historian Sandra Lopez said. “People all over the U.S. were exposed to it, and many of their children and grandchildren have been born with defects.”
To register or for more information, call Morgan at 337-431-7179 or Lopez at 337-380-0835.