BISMARCK (KFGO-AM) - The North Dakota House this week passed a bill appropriating $50,000 to help Vietnam veterans sickened by Agent Orange. The bill now goes to the Senate.
Representative Wayne Trottier of Northwood carried the same bill which passed two years ago. He said the money makes up for the federal government's failure to take proper care of veterans affected by the chemical.
Dan Stenvold, President of the North Dakota Vietnam Veterans of America chapter and a member of the VVA's National Agent Orange Committee, said the money is used for education. So far they've traveled to 22 counties to get the word out. Before state funding, he and others paid the costs out of their own pockets. Stenvold is surprised that many veterans who turn out know nothing about the illnesses associated with exposure to Agent Orange or that it can affect their children and grandchildren. His group has also put up billboards to raise public awareness.
Stensvold, Mayor of Park River, was forced to retire in 2005 because of vision problems caused by exposure to Agent Orange during his three tours of Vietnam.