Health Care Now for Military Families Poisoned at Camp Lejeune
  • Petitioned Matt McAlvanah

This petition was delivered to:

Press Secretary
Matt McAlvanah
House Veterans Affairs Committee, Chair
Representative Jeff Miller
United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Eric Shinseki
Veterans Affairs
Media Relations
Chief of Staff and Press Secretary
Dan Mcfaul
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Chair
Senator Patty Murray

Health Care Now for Military Families Poisoned at Camp Lejeune

    1. Jerry Ensminger
    2. Petition by

      Jerry Ensminger

      White Lake, NC

August 2012


After more than 135,000 people signed Jerry Ensminger's campaign on, President Obama has signed the Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act into law. The law provides health coverage for the military families who drank water contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals over a thirty-year period at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina. Jerry, whose daughter Janey died in 1985 of childhood leukemia after drinking the water on the base, has been working for more than 15 years to win justice for the survivors of the largest water contamination scandal in U.S. history.

“I am thankful to everyone who has supported this work -- from our elected officials who chose to truly represent us to the 135,000 people across the country who signed my petition on Thank you for standing with us. I know I can't bring my daughter back, but now Janey's memory will continue with honor and a message of hope," said Jerry.

My name is Jerry Ensminger, and I served my country faithfully for 24 years in the United States Marine Corps. During that time, I trained thousands of recruits to become honored Marines. And, like too many who lived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, my family suffered great tragedy due to contaminated water at the base.

That’s why I’m asking for your help, to call on the U.S. government to help the families still suffering from the effects of toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Those of us who drank the water have suffered from cancers, leukemias, miscarriages and birth defects from the cancer-causing chemicals in the water. Last month, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said providing healthcare to Camp Lejeuene veterans is "premature," and there are two bills in Congress that would provide health care for the families and veterans who desperately need it. But these measures are being held up by politics. 

Our nation's leaders must act now to provide health care for the veterans and their families who were stationed at Camp Lejeune.

In 1983, my daughter Janey was diagnosed with childhood leukemia. Janey -- the only one of my children either conceived, born, or raised on the base -- was just six years old. For two and a half years, I watched Janey fight for her life. I watched her fight, suffer, and die. She passed away 27 years ago, when she was just 9 years old.

My daughter Janey was the only person in our family's history to be stricken with this awful disease -- but she is one of possibly 200,000 people who have gotten sick from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Years after her death, I learned of a report indicating the drinking water at the base had been contaminated during the time we lived there -- with chemicals suspected of causing childhood cancers and birth defects. I have not stopped working to help other victims since.

What happened at Camp Lejeune is one the worst cases of drinking water contamination in American history. Nearly 1 million people drank, bathed, and cooked with the base's water for three decades.

When the Marine Corps learned about the poisoned water in the early 80s, federal law required them to clean it up. But the Marine Corps failed to tell the truth about the contamination until the late 90s, and even then only told part of the truth. Sadly, many who were stationed at Camp Lejeune still don't know why they were ill -- or don't know how vigilant they must be now about their health.

It has taken years to expose the truth, and the Marine Corps has fought transparency at every turn -- delaying funding for health studies, withholding key documents and failing to disclose the true extent of the contamination to the public, the media, and Congress until forced to do so.

I have appealed to Marine Corps leadership to make things right for the families who have suffered, and I have testified before Congress asking for transparency and medical help for those who are now ill. The stories of families like mine have been documented in the film Semper Fi: Always Faithful. You can learn more about what happened here: 

Thousands of people who were poisoned at Camp Lejeune are struggling without access to the medical care they need. It's time for the U.S. government to provide the people who are still suffering the effects of the toxic water at Camp Lejeune with health care. We volunteered to serve and protect our nation...we never volunteered to be poisoned by our own leaders!

Recent signatures


    1. Campaign Update

      Jerry Ensminger
      Petition Organizer

      The vote today and recent Congressional actions are a testimony to the persistence of certain legislators and their staffs and a tribute to the countless victims who have either passed away or are still suffering the effects of institutional negligence and persistent failures of leadership within the United States Department of Defense.

      The passage of this legislation will not be the final chapter of this ongoing national tragedy. The Department of the Navy and the Marine Corps have to this day refused to release all information relating to this issue. There has been absolutely no accountability for past criminal negligence nor for the ongoing conspiracy by authorities to conceal that neglect.

      Camp Lejeune should stand shoulder to shoulder with Love Canal, Woburn, Mass. and the thousands of other contamination sites in our country as stark reminders to our citizens that the environment and the regulations to protect it are not only important...our very existence depends on them!

    2. Congress OKs help for those hurt by Lejeune water

      Corinne Ball
      Petition Organizer

      RALEIGH, N.C. -- A bill to help Marines and family members sickened by contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune heads to President Barack Obama now that the U.S. House has approved it.

      The bill is named for a girl who died of leukemia at the age of 9. Her father, Jerry Ensminger of Elizabethtown, led the fight to get health care for the victims and to get information about the contamination released. The bill covers Marines and family members who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune from 1957 to 1987.

    3. Forgotten Marines

      Corinne Ball
      Petition Organizer

      Decades after exposure to poisoned water at Camp Lejeune, thousands of military families are still waiting for help.

    4. Marine Vet launches petition to provide healthcare for Lejeune victims

      Jerry Ensminger
      Petition Organizer

      More facts about this tragic issue...Jerry

    5. We are nearly at 109,000 and still climbing, please keep passing the word!

      Jerry Ensminger
      Petition Organizer

      Inspiration that they are personally making a difference for so many.

    6. Reached 100,000 signatures
    7. Reached 750 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Joseph Meier BRUNSWICK, GA
      • almost 2 years ago

      My name is Sgt. JD Meier, I lived on base at Camp LeJeune in 1965' - 66'.

      I contracted cancer a number of years later that nobody in my family ever had; (Thyroid Cancer). Later my children started coming up with the same or related kinds of cancer and skin conditions, mostly thyroid cancer. My oldest child conceived just after my stay there, just had surgery for thyroid cancer recently, and all of my children (all 6 in total), have had thyroid related problem, skin problems or glandular tumors. Perhaps it is time for the US Government to take a closer look at those of us that are reporting our conditions from drinking and bathing in polluted water on a military base.

    • Mary Prentice SAND LAKE, MI
      • almost 2 years ago

      My family has been devastated by health issues too. I can't believe Obama signed it into law and it is not being inforced! I tried to get signed up and the Veterans person in Grand Rapids Michigan said is not in effect yet because Congress didn't sign it. Does the Presidents signature mean nothing?

    • Susan Bryan SKULL VALLEY, AZ
      • about 2 years ago

      In memory of my husband who passed away in 2009 of lung cancer which when to his brain and spine before he died. He was 57.

    • Andrea Johnson MADISON, IN
      • about 2 years ago

      I have a friend who was born there around 1970 who was born with a club foot and has now developed a seizure disorder declared to also be due to a birth defect

    • luiza clemente KILLEEN, TX
      • about 2 years ago

      Healthcare for all!!!!


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