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Veterans groups ready for President Biden's promised health care improvements

"I am hopeful that because President Biden experienced this with his own son, that he means what he says and he will make it expedited," said Lynn Coffland.

DALLAS — In his State of the Union address, and again Tuesday in Fort Worth, President Joe Biden promised faster help, faster treatment, and more efficient funding for veterans impacted by the burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan that are implicated in the cancer and lung disease diagnoses of thousands of veterans. 

Veteran-assistance groups in North Texas, and across the country, are watching to make sure that does indeed happen. 

"I definitely applaud the effort," said Cole Lyle, executive director of Mission Roll Call. 

The veterans advocacy group offers veterans a "unified voice" in Washington, D.C. in the quest for better health care and veteran suicide prevention. 

"But the proof is in the pudding, right," the Marine veteran and Dallas-Fort Worth-area native said. "How the White House and how the VA plans to implement changes that Congress passes is really where it counts. " 

"Veterans in the community, community organizations, they need to keep pressure on the VA, local VA officials, and the White House and Congress to make sure that they're taken care of," said Lyle.

The President has said this is personal: believing his son Beau's fatal brain cancer could have been caused by toxins in that same smoke in Iraq. 

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It is personal also for Lynn Coffland, whose veteran-assistance group Catch a Lift is working with lung-damaged and cancer-stricken veterans too. She formed the non-profit, helping veterans through weight training and other physical activities, in memory of her brother. 

Chris Coffland was an Army corporal killed just two and a half weeks after he arrived in Afghanistan. 

"I am hopeful that because President Biden experienced this with his own son, that he means what he says and he will make it expedited," Lynn Coffland said. "And when they say speed up, let's hope it's not bureaucracy speed. They need the help and need the support, now!" 

Congressman Colin Allred (TX-32), who joined President Biden at the Fort Worth VA Clinic and Tarrant County Resource Connection on Tuesday, said he is his committed to VA improvements too: 

"From establishing the Garland VA Medical Center to having my legislation to expand the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Dallas VA signed into law by President Biden, I've been working hard to expand access to health care for North Texas veterans. I thank the President for coming to North Texas and will continue working to pass his Unity Agenda to keep our promise to our veterans, expand health care access, lower costs for families and protect our planet."

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