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One Vet, One Message

Vietnam Veteran Larry Wilson

Larry Wilson often makes my day on his EMS rounds. I can count on the gentle knock on my office door and the familiar greeting, “Ms. Cureton, how are you today and do you need your trash emptied or a new trash bag?” We talk briefly and then I turn to my computer and he to his work as the door closes.

Our usual small talk got serious one day when I asked Larry about his Vietnam Service. The Vietnam Veteran ball cap he wears with the “Ranger roll” is ever present.

“Have you heard about the PACT Act,” I asked.

“No, ma’am,” he replied.

I grabbed a flyer and explained what the PACT Act is.  He listened, thanked me, and carried on with his work.

Concerned, I shared my encounter with a public affairs colleague. Concerned because our facility walls, tables and digital display monitors had PACT info on them for months. The VA is advertising the PACT Act on social media and promoting it on radio stations across the nation. VA senior leaders are actively engaged in discussing the landmark legislation. The Fayetteville NC VA Coastal Health Care System was even selected to participate in the VA National PACT Act Week of Action in December 2022.

Despite all of that, Larry didn’t know what this legislation could mean to him and millions of other Veterans who served during Vietnam War, Gulf War and Post 9/11 eras.

The next day, I called EMS and asked to speak at one of their staff meetings.  They agreed and I carried the PACT Act message to an audience, my teammates, who may stand to benefit.

A week later, Larry stopped by my office with the same knock and the same greeting. But there was something a little different. Instead of waiting for my response, he kept talking. “I just want you to know that I went to the Cumberland County Veterans Office and completed my intent to file.” 

He smiled and so did I.

The intent to file is a Veteran’s way of letting the VA know a claim is coming.  For Larry, that means a PACT Act claim.

Here’s what our Vietnam, Gulf War and Post 9/11 Veterans need to know about the PACT Act.

When President Biden signed the PACT Act Aug. 10, 2022, it initiated one of the largest expansions of VA benefits in history. This includes extended VA health care enrollment eligibility to Vietnam-era, Gulf War-era and Post-9/11 Veterans.

VA health care for any illness or injury determined to be related to your military service (called “service connected”) is free. The PACT Act added more than 20 presumptive conditions, expanding benefits to Vietnam-era, Gulf War-era, and Post 9/11 Veterans.

Check out the complete list of presumptive conditions and how to file a claim at

Share this information.  Veterans submitting their PACT Act-related claims (or intent to file) before August 10, 2023, are eligible for benefits backdated to the date of enactment (August 10, 2022). If you believe you are an eligible Veteran, ACT NOW on your PACT Act claim!

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