The Poisoned Patriot Fund of America holding the 1st Annual Jeep Ride

The Poisoned Patriot Fund of America holding the 1st Annual Jeep Ride

The Poisoned Patriots Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping veterans and families of military related toxic exposures, is holding their 1st annual Jeep Ride to benefit those exposed to toxic water poisoning at Camp Lejeune.

From the 1950s through the 1980s, people living or working at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with industrial solvents, benzene, and other chemicals. Bob Kahaly spoke about his organization, Poisoned Patriots Fund of America at a recent monthly meeting of the Veterans Council of St. Johns County, Inc. Kahaly and many others were at the Marine Base at Camp Lejeune, NC.

According to the website, The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has completed the water modeling for the Tarawa Terrace water distribution system and has determined the system was contaminated from June 1957 until 1 March 1987. The ATSDR water modeling for the Hadnot Point water distribution system is underway but has not been completed.

During the years when the water was contaminated, stillborn babies were commonplace on the base, so many that the local cemetery has a section locals call Baby Heaven, lined with the graves of children who never made it to their first birthdays.

Mary Freshwater was a young mother who lived on the base back in the 1970s. She said she and the other women at Camp Lejeune suspected something was terribly wrong. “I was very active with the Officers’ Wives Club. We were at a party at one of my friend’s house one night. There were five of us in different stages of pregnancy. Every one of us lost their baby to a birth defect,” she said.

For Freshwater, it was an unbearable pain she suffered not once, but twice.

On Nov. 30, 1977, she gave birth to a son, Russell Alexander Thorpe, but the baby was born with an open spine. All she has left of him now is a small suit he was wearing the day he died – just 10 minutes past midnight on New Year’s Eve, 1977.

“It was really a shocker when he was born that way and then when he died, he died in my arms. He took his last breath,” she said.

Freshwater said doctors encouraged her to get pregnant again and she eventually gave birth to a second son — Charlie, who was born without a cranium, and died the same day.

Today, Freshwater is 68 years old and has been diagnosed with two different kinds of cancers, acute myeloid and acute lymphoma. She says doctors told her the diagnosis was consistent with exposure to chemicals such as benzene, which she was exposed to during her time at Camp Lejeune.

Marine Corps Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger was a devoted marine for nearly 25 years. As a drill instructor he lived and breathed the “Corps” and was  responsible for indoctrinating thousands of new recruits with its motto  Semper Fidelis or “Always Faithful.”

When Jerry’s nine-year old  daughter Janey died of a rare type of leukemia, his world collapsed.  As  a grief-stricken father, he struggled for years to make sense of what  happened.  His search for answers led to the shocking discovery of a  Marine Corps cover-up of one of the largest water contamination  incidents in U.S. history.

Semper Fi: Always Faithful follows Jerry’s  mission to expose the Marine Corps and force them to live up to their motto to the thousands of soldiers and their families exposed to toxic  chemicals.  His fight reveals a grave injustice at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune and a looming environmental crisis at military sites across the country.

Under a law signed Aug. 6, 2012 (215 KB, PDF), Veterans and family members who served on active duty or resided at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987 may be eligible for medical care through VA for 15 health conditions.  For more info visit: The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

The Poisoned Patriot Fund of America will be holding the 1st Annual Jeep Ride for the Cause on September 9th at 1:00 p.m. The ride begins at Woody’s BarBQ, 226-a Solano Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach and proceed South on A1A to Vilano Beach. Go to for an entry form. Registration is $25.00

More info:

Documents show Marine leaders were slow to respond when tests in the early 1980s showed higher than normal levels of contaminants in groundwater and the base, likely caused by leaking fuel tanks and an off-base dry cleaner.  From the research that I have done, these were a list of some of the chemicals that were found in the water: Trichloroethylene / tetrachloroethene, Benzene, Vinyl Chloride, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, PCBs, & Lead.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry  is the lead agency determining if exposures to volatile organic compounds (such as PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene) in drinking water are associated with adverse health  outcomes among the Marines, dependents, and civilian employees who lived or worked at   Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Prior to March 1987, some of the  water systems at Camp Lejeune were contaminated with volatile  organic compounds (VOCs). To determine which base housing areas  received contaminated water, a water-modeling approach using historical reconstruction is  necessary. The approach includes modeling of the groundwater  flow of contaminants and the distribution of these contaminants  within the water systems. Based on this information, ATSDR will estimate exposures for each housing area for every month from the start  of contamination until contaminated water-supply wells were permanently removed from operation. Click here to read more:

My commentary:
The sad fact of the matter is that a Multipure water filter would have filtered out most, if not all of those contaminants that the Camp Lejuene residents were exposed to. Its such a shame.

Multipure drinking water systems are tested and certified by the National Sanitation Foundation to reduce TCEs and a list of other VOCs along with a variety of other water contaminants.

Multipure Aquaperform systems are NSF certified to reduce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) including benzene, and TCE. 

For a complete list of contaminants that Multipure reduces, visit:  (all units except the Aquaperform & AquaRO)  (contaminant list for the Aquaperform) (contaminant list for the AquaRO)