Symposium slated on veterans' illnesses

September 03, 1997


Staff Writer

Area veterans concerned with illnesses resulting from their military service can learn more about their ailments and possible government benefits during a symposium on the issue later this month in Annapolis.

"This is a chance for veterans who need to have answers to their questions," said former state Del. Peter G. Callas, who is coordinating what is being officially called "Symposium II."

The forum will be held Sept. 22 from 9 to 11:30 a.m., in the Joint Hearing Room in the Legislative Services Building next to the State House.


Veterans Affairs officials will give presentations on various issues dealing with illnesses and benefits, as well as discussions about potential congressional legislation. Questions from veterans and survivors also will be answered, Callas said.

Illnesses to be addressed include exposure to mustard gas, nuclear testing, Agent Orange and tobacco smoke. Gulf War syndrome also will be discussed.

The symposium is being sponsored by Joint Veterans Council of Washington County, the county's legislative delegation and the Maryland Veterans Commission.

The first symposium was held four years ago, amid concerns about various war-related ailments faced by area veterans. Callas said a second meeting is needed because there are still concerns, particularly among veterans with illnesses they believe to be related to the Gulf War.

The effect smoking has had on veterans is an issue that was not discussed during the first meeting.

"Many veterans are in hospitals now who were given free cigarettes" during their service, Callas said.

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