Written by Matt Hopf, GateHouse News Service
(SPRINGFIELD, IL. - GateHouse News Service) -- State veterans officials say they will help however possible Gulf War veterans who could get a chance at federal benefits after being denied for illnesses related to their war service.
Many Gulf War veterans were denied benefits initially after displaying signs of "Gulf War illness." Gwen Diehl of the state Department of Veterans' Affairs said Friday that the state will step up after the federal government's announcement of reconsideration.
"We're going to help the veterans open their claims," Diehl said.
The announcement was made at a Capitol memorial service in honor of the 19th anniversary of the cease fire of the Persian Gulf War.
J.D. Young, of Girard, who served with the Army National Guard during the war, was pleased that the VA would take a look at these claims even though he was not affected by the announcement.
"A friend of mine who was in our unit has a lot of nerve problems in his hands," Young said.
Several other members of the unit also developed symptoms, which include rashes, joint and muscle pain, sleep issues and gastrointestinal problems.
First Sgt. Nancy Tieber-Wiles, who served with a MEDEVAC unit in the war, said many people had medical issues after the war.
"I've had a few friends that had medical issues," she said, adding they weren't sure of the cause.
Matt Hopf can be reached at 217-782-3095 or Matt.firstname.lastname@example.org.