Blue Water Navy legislation passes House

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Carol Olszanecki (file):
“We need to be able to support ourselves …”

WASHINGTON – For Carol Olszanecki of Kingston, the House of Representatives’ passage Monday night of the Blue Water Navy bill is a major victory.
Her husband, John, who was stationed on a ship off-shore during the Vietnam
War, later contracted cancer and died 16 years ago at age 57 from Agent
Orange. She has been fighting for years to secure her husband’s
death benefits.
“When you are in this kind of a situation and you lose your spouse and you go to the VA and you ask them and they turn you down and tell you ‘no,’ this leaves an impact on them,” Olszanecki said. ” We are left most of the time with ‘where do we go now; what do we do?’ We need to be able to support ourselves and put a roof over our heads because four or five years after my husband died, I worked two jobs.”
The measure, if approved by the Senate and signed by the president, would extend existing disability and death benefits to Vietnam-era Navy veterans who were stationed on ships off the coast in Southeast Asia, but were affected by Agent Orange. Currently, only military personnel who served on land or inland waterways qualify for treatment benefits for Agent Orange-related health problems, even though thousands of Navy veterans were affected by the herbicides that washed into the area’s waterways.
The measure was initially introduced by former Rep. Christopher Gibson. The bill, which passed by a vote of 382 to 0, had among its cosponsors Congressman John Faso (R, NY-19) and Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18).