Friday, December 10, 2010

Iraqi War veteran says he's suffering from exposure to burn pits, but is happy to receive military honor

Iraqi War veteran says he's suffering from exposure to burn pits, but is happy to receive military honor

By Kathleen Berger

St. Charles, MO (KSDK) -- The Missouri Air National Guard presented the Hometown Heroes Salute to an Iraqi War Veteran, whose health has been in failure since his return. His family members have become huge advocates in raising awareness about burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That's what the Retired Tech Sgt. Tim Wymore blames for his health problems that have only gotten worse since he returned from Iraq. But the St. Charles man was all smiles Friday as he received a very special honor.

Iraqi War Veteran Tim Wymore was supposed to have received his Hometown Heroes Salute last January, but somehow his name was missed. When the Missouri Air National Guard discovered the mistake, they arranged a ceremony just for him.

"It is kind of amazing that they did this for me, because now I got the whole thing to myself," said Wymore.

The medal and framed letter of appreciation are well deserved for Wymore's 181 days of service in Iraq. Especially after everything Wymore and his family have gone through after they say he was exposed to hazardous chemicals.

"Did a lot of runs to what they call the burn pits, that's what's affected me," said Wymore. "I came home sick, they took a softball size infection out of my colon and small intestine, and I've been kind of sick ever since."

As more health problems persist, Wymore's wife, Shanna, has become an advocate for thousands who've been exposed.

"It's 2010, we've got to shut these burn pits down," said Shanna Wymore.

But the Wymores call the burn pits the new Agent Orange.

"I have to fight and fight and fight," said Shanna. "Arms, limbs, corpses from the dogs, they burn all the water bottles, the Styrofoam, all the plastic, all the food stuff, all the medical supply," said Shanna.

While she focuses on that fight, Tim Wymore is focusing on another.

"I just want to get better. I don't want to have to wear this oxygen or be in this wheelchair the rest of my life, so that's my goal," said Tim Wymore.

Through it all, Tim Wymore says he's very patriotic. He waves American flags from his house. And he considers the hometown Heroes Salute a huge honor.

I first became interested in the "Burn Pits" when I was contacted by Jill Wilkins whose husband had died from brain cancer that started after being assigned to Balad AFB, and she was looking for some help in how to deal with the VA Regional Office about the DIC and CHAMPVA benefits her and the children were entitled to. The VA is making some major improvements in handling claims related to the Burn Pit exposure, but to many veterans and their families are still having to fight to hard and to long for service connection. Like Agent Orange the VA is still coming to terms more than 40 years after that war what medical issues are related to the exposures, hopefully the VA will not make this new generation of war veterans wait 40 years for full disclosure of medical conditions related to the exposures.

Sphere: Related Content