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CWP Resource Fair – Santa Fe New Mexican

April 13, 2011

April 13, 2011

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CWP News

On April 6th, 2011, the Santa Fe New Mexican previewed the CWP Resource Fair being held just north of Santa Fe, NM.  Read Article on SFNM website.

Group holds resource fair for ex-uranium, nuclear workers

Tom Sharpe | The New Mexican

Posted: Wednesday, April 06, 2011

An organization fighting for federal compensation for people whose health has been damaged by working in uranium mines or on nuclear-weapons projects will hold its first resource fair in New Mexico next week.

Cold War Patriots’ Nuclear & Uranium Workers’ Resource Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14 at the conference center at the Cities of Gold Casino Hotel, 10-A Cities of Gold Road in Pojoaque.

Kevin Fitzgerald, vice president for community outreach for Professional Case Management, a Denver company that provides in-home health care for about 500 former uranium-mine or nuclear-weapons workers under contract with the U.S. Labor and Energy departments, said the first resource fair was held four or five years ago in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Last year, Cold War Patriots, an advocacy group for the former workers, held eight fairs; this year, it will hold 12. The April 14 event will be the first held in New Mexico, despite the many uranium mines and nuclear-weapons facilities found in the state.

“Other areas heard about these and requested them,” Fitzgerald said. “Los Alamos seems more closed and maybe has not been as receptive, but I think now they’ve realized the other communities have (requested them). Even though they didn’t ask to have it, we’ve gotten a lot of inquiries from former workers like, ‘Hey, we’ve heard this is going on in other areas. When are we going to have one in our area?’ ”

The compensation program began with a 1990 federal law addressing chronic illnesses among people who worked in uranium mining and milling for at least 12 months before 1972. In 2000, Congress expanded the program to people who had worked in nuclear-weapons plants.

More than 600,000 former employees of 365 different facilities around the country are believed to be eligible for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness and Compensation Program. But neither Fitzgerald nor Noel McDonnell, marketing coordinator for Cold War Patriots, had an estimate of the number of people receiving benefits.

Common chronic illnesses among the workers include respiratory diseases, pulmonary fibrosis, asbestosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, beryllium diseases and certain types of cancer. Fitzgerald said the benefits for those who qualify include cash compensation as well as free lifetime medical compensation in-home care, doctor visits, medical equipment and medications.

Among the exhibitors at Thursday’s resource fair will be Ambercare Hospice, the Veterans Affairs Medical Clinic, Beehive Homes and lawyer Kevin Martinez of Albuquerque. Representatives from Johns Hopkins University’s Former Worker Program will screen attendees to help determine if they qualify for the program.

“It’s amazing that a lot of people are not aware of the program,” Fitzgerald said.

Contact Tom Sharpe at 986-3080 or [email protected].