Veterans Say They Want To Know

November 10, 2011 Updated Nov 10, 2011 at 2:04 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

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November 10, 2011 Updated Nov 10, 2011 at 2:04 PM EDT

Dunkirk, N.Y. (WKBW) - Many military men and women say this Veterans Day is more than flags and patriotic songs.

"They should reach out to veterans and their families because of the health concerns effecting vets that they may not even be aware of," Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sgt Leroy Foster said.

That's what they did at the Senior Center in Dunkirk. Congressman Brian Higgins joined with local health groups and other non-profits to bring information about illnesses those veterans may be experiencing because of their military service and where they should go to get help.

"The idea is to make these service providers accessible to this population," Congressman Higgins said.

Public Relations Officer with the Veterans of Western New York Health Care System Evangeline Conely said healthcare for vets is key.

"It's very important for people to get their health care and making decisions about health care," Conley said.

Master Sgt. Foster knows first hand the importance of know about and receiving these services.

"I handled agent orange herbicide for 10 years for the military during Vietnam War. I never knew that because of that, for the next 40 years I would be experiencing all of these health outcomes, heart disease, MS, Parkinson's, autoimmune diseases," Master Sgt. Foster said.

It's not only the vets who benefit from the services its also their families. Sgt Foster said because of his exposure, doctors said his entire family is having problems. His daughter suffers from cancer and his granddaughter is even feeling the effects.

"I just had a granddaughter with multiple birth defects. She was born with 12 fingers, 12 toes, heart problems and now they think she may have autism," Master Sgt Foster said.

Foster said Veterans Day is a time to hang flags and sing patriotic songs but he said the best way to honor the veterans is informing them.

"Don't let this happened to them without them knowing what is happening. All it takes is just people being aware and sharing their information," Master Sgt. Foster said.

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