(from left to right)
Joyce Rommel, “Co-founder>Support>Architect>Fund-raiser”. John Bachor, “Founder>Vietnam veteran”. “Congress Women”, Carolyn McCarthy. Carol Bachor, “Support>Research”. Kenny Rommel, “Support>Graphic Artist>Treasurer>Veteran”
20th Engineer Brigade, 36th Engineer Battalion. 1967 / 1968.
I’m not sure when I first came into contact with Agent Orange, it might have been when a Huey flew over head spraying, what was called Mosquito repellant, “there were so many lies, or they just didn’t know. One day, an Officer, a (Captain) asked if I could put together a portable high pressure washer to remove “that sticky stuff” off of the equipment, I said “sure” about a week later, we tried it out by what we thought was a old rice patty that had water in it. Well, it worked great, water all over the place, we got good and wet also. So, others came to wash “that sticky stuff” off of their vehicles and equipment. Then, one day, some one with some brains, noticed what was being done.They stopped the operation and informed the guy’s, “that was our Base Camp water supply”. So, we ate it, showered in it, brushed our teeth with it, cooks mixed our dried milk with it, potatoes and so on. Now we know what it was. “DOWS AGENT ORANGE”.
I have a number of health issues, including three Heart Attacks. I have always been healthy and worked hard. First Heart Attack in 2002, I continued working at my regular job and continued my hiking, and photography until the second Heart Attack in 2010, that one caused me to be disabled. Then, on Christmas Day 2011, I had the third Heart Attack, that one took 47% of my Heart, (LVF). After 2002 my (METS) level was (2.78) I should have received a 100% disability rating at that time, but the VA only gave me 10%. I have been fighting with the VA for 2 1/2 years now.
After the 2002 Heart Attack, I started looking for others with the same problems that I had. I found many, way too many. I started going to Veterans support groups. I have “PTSD” also. Then I noticed there were a few members in our group that had Purple Hearts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I honor and respect those that have been awarded that very special metal, but since I can’t go hiking and do my photography, like I once could, I’m to sick and weak to go climbing around the outback. But the Purple Heart recipients, for the most part can still do it, plus they will probably live longer then I will. I wondered why couldn’t we, (those afflicted with Agent Orange) have a metal to show our wounds. To some degree, we died forty some years ago, it just hasen’t caught up with most of us.
So, a conversation with my Cousin “Joyce” a couple years ago, encouraged me to design an image of an Orange Heart Metal, then we could have it placed on tee shirts and other products, to get the word out. then we decided on (Cafe Press) to do the work, by doing this we would receive about 10% of the sale in profits, then we could share with the Vet’s and their families in need to help make their lives a little better.
Well, mostly because of Joyce’s bubbly personality, all of her friends and past experiences, this is getting bigger then we thought it would. Now, to create more awareness of our cause, and give honor to our Agent Orange afflicted Veterans, we have designed and plan to have erected a beautiful Agent Orange Monument in Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, long Island NY. But we need your support, so “” PLEASE CONTRIBUTE””
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