Simmons Hanly Conroy advocates for veterans who died from asbestos related diseases

On this Veterans Day, please remember to light a candle in memory of those who gave their lives to protect ours; to say a prayer for those who are still overseas protecting us; and to thank those who served and came home to a nation they made great.

As a firm that specializes in asbestos-related diseases, many of our clients are veterans. Today, we’d like to advocate on behalf of those who passed away from lung cancer and mesothelioma due to their asbestos exposure during their time of service.

Throughout the twentieth century, the US military made widespread use of asbestos, a dangerous mineral linked to a number of diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Asbestos was popular because of its heat-resistant properties, making it especially useful for fireproofing living quarters and
seagoing vessels.

According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, there are approximately 23 million veterans living in the country today. Thanks to the military’s decades of uncontrolled asbestos use, many of these veterans were unknowingly exposed to asbestos throughout their years of service. Navy veterans who worked on and around ships built before the mid 1970s are especially at risk, since they may have been exposed to concentrated doses of asbestos below deck. Since the first symptoms of mesothelioma normally do not appear until decades after exposure, many of these veterans have only recently been diagnosed with this fatal
disease.

navy-asbestosDespite this, close to 1,700 metric tons of asbestos was imported to the United States in 2008. It’s not banned, and – although it’s highly regulated – asbestos is still found in household products like insulation, shingles and siding.

America’s veterans who have been diagnosed with an asbestos related disease don’t back down from a fight. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves or being resentful about something they know they can’t change. They remain proud of their service to their country and the time they spent in the Navy, Army, Air Force, or Marines. Like any hardworking American, though, they deserve a chance to be heard.

The same goes for any veteran who has fallen upon hard times. One of our attorneys, Mike Stewart, a veteran himself, volunteers with Madison County’s veteran court. It’s a court program run by veterans for veterans. The special court helps honorably discharged veterans who are struggling with legal problems resulting from drug, alcohol or mental health problems.

Here’s a great article about Madison County’s veterans court program that ran in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

On behalf of the Simmons law firm, I would like to thank past, present and future U.S. veterans around the world for the sacrifices they made on behalf of our country. We are forever proud of the men and women who continually risked their lives to protect ours. We hope through their example we will be inspired to become better people and a better nation.