A Marine Corps veteran exposed to contaminated water while working at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina worked on Wednesday with the widows of two men similarly situated trying to raise awareness about available benefits.
Billy Klingenberg, a resident of Sequoyah County, said many people are unaware of the benefits available to those injured as a result of exposure to the contaminated water supply at the base from Aug. 1, 1953 to Dec. 31, 1987. He said Veterans Affairs provides inadequate information about the benefits available and unduly denies legitimate claims.
Tara Craver of Florida is the widow of Lance Cpl. Karle A. Craver, who died in 2014 as a result of esophageal cancer that developed as a result of his exposure to those contaminants. Craver said she lost her home three years into a nearly four-year battle with Veterans Affairs to get spousal benefits, so she has made it her mission to raise awareness about Camp Lejeune contamination and benefits.
Jason McClellan, director of the VA Regional Office in Muskogee, said the Camp Lejeune claims associated with the contaminated water supply are processed only at designated offices. The Muskogee office is not one of those, but he said staffers here will provide callers with instructions about how to contact an office that processes those claims.