Ted Minnick has been a military man all his life.
You can see it in his disciplined posture, his purposeful gait, his even
gaze. What you cannot see, however, are the wounds he suffered as a
result of his service — not from gunfire or shrapnel, but from exposure
to a deadly, now-infamous herbicide known as Agent Orange.
Minnick served as an artillery battery commander in Vietnam and now
suffers from leukemia — one of many illnesses linked to exposure to the
dioxin-based chemical. But during an Oct. 25 Agent Orange Town Hall held
in Asheville, he spoke not for himself but for his daughter and the
many other children of veterans who illnesses might be linked to what
happened to him in Vietnam. Minnick addressed a room filled with other
veterans and their families: “I don’t hold any grudge against the U.S.
government,” he said. “What I hold is guilt for bringing it back.”
While his illness has been covered by the VA, Minnick’s had no success getting help for his youngest daughter, Sarah,
who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1997. “I’m scared – I’m
not mad,” Sarah said. “I want the government to realize that we need
centers to do research to find where these conditions come from.”
Joining more than 400 Vietnam veterans and their families at the Enka
Campus of A-B Tech, the Minnicks urged passage of the Toxic Research Act of 2014, which would, among other actions, call for researching the
health effects caused by exposure to toxic substances like Agent Orange.