Father honored for fight against Camp Lejeune water

August 7, 2012 8:27:26 PM PDT
A retired North Carolina Marine is finally seeing the results of a 15 yearlong crusade.

Retired Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger set out on a mission to honor his daughter's memory and help others poisoned by tainted tap water at Camp Lejeune.    

Tuesday evening, Sen. Richard Burr attended a ceremony in downtown Raleigh to honor Ensminger's efforts.

"The significance of this film is to put the human face on the issue at Camp Lejeune," said Burr.

About people 100 joined Burr and Rep. Brad Miller inside the North Carolina Museum of History to watch "Sempi Fi: Always Faithful."

The documentary outlines Ensminger's quest to prove contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune caused his nine-year-old daughter Janey's rare leukemia, which ultimately led to her death.

Ensminger and others connected the dots discovering that between 1957 and 1987 hundreds of others suffered illnesses from industrial cleaners and gasoline leaching into the drinking water.

"It came from improper disposal practices, dumping into the dirt and into drains," said Ensminger. "I never really realized or thought that they would? that they would stoop to the levels that they did with this situation."  

After years of unveiling a military cover-up, medical help with bi-partisan support for those affected came last week in the form of the Janey Ensminger Act. President Obama signed it into law Monday.

"This bill is a baby step, but it's a baby step in the right direction," said Burr.

"We still don't have the total truth out of the Department of the Navy or the Marine Corps and we haven't had any accountability, none," said Ensminger.

Health officials believe as many as a million people may have been exposed.

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