Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Even when the letter came in 1984, Sharon Perry and her late husband, Reuben “Bud” Perry III, didn’t make any connection with Agent Orange. No red flags were raised about what was happening in their home, happening to him, happening to their daughters. The oldest, Danielle, would be sick all her life. The youngest, Lisbeth, would be diagnosed with autism — but not until she was 26. Lisbeth would have a son and he, too, would be diagnosed with autism. Bud would die in 2005 after many difficult years of dealing with the aftermath of the Vietnam War.
But in 1984, they stood in the kitchen, reading the letter about a class-action suit brought on behalf of veterans who may be suffering from the lingering effects of Agent Orange. They didn’t think it had anything to do with them.
“I’ll always remember standing in the kitchen and looking at one another and saying to him, ‘you’re not sick,’ ” she said.
She saved the letter anyway.