The battle was just beginning for Le Roy Torres and his wife, Rosie, when the Army captain returned to Texas in 2008, already starting to suffer from the toxic substances he’d inhaled from the 10-acre burn pit at Camp Anaconda in Balad, Iraq.
Along the way, Le Roy would lose the job he loved as a Texas state trooper and take his fight all the way to a Supreme Court victory. He would be rushed to the emergency room hundreds of times, be denied health benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs for years, attempt suicide, and seek experimental cures for the damage done to his lungs and brain.
Amid all that, Le Roy and Rosie founded an organization to help others and push Congress to fix the laws that allowed the suffering of veterans to go on, and ultimately enlist people like comedian and activist Jon Stewart, who helped them win a dramatic showdown in the Senate last week.
Their struggle will never really be over. But the Torreses’ campaign to make sure no other veterans experience what they had to ends Aug. 10, when they join President Joe Biden as he signs a law to guarantee that 3.5 million American warriors exposed to similar hazards can get care.
“I mean, to think that 13 years ago we were walking the hall …