Tara Craver sits alone in the heat outside of the VA at Bay Pines.
She is on a mission.
Craver is a Camp Lejeune widow. Her husband, Karle, a former Marine, stationed at Camp Lejeune in the 70s developed a cancer linked to chemicals that tainted the base’s water supply from 1953 to 87.
“We didn’t know until the day he was told he was terminal about Lejeune,” Tara said. “How many more are out there?”
Karle died in 2014 as he waited to hear back about a disability claim related to the camp. The VA had denied it.
“It destroyed me,” Tara remembered. “My husband was the love of my life.”
Last year, Craver fought the VA’s decision and was finally granted benefits. Now, she’s on another mission, starting a 5,600-mile journey to VA facilities in 10 states to bring awareness to one of the largest mass contaminations in American history.
As a commitment to reaching out to veterans and family, the VA issued a memorandum last year to prominently display Camp Lejeune posters at its medical facilities.
But followers on a Facebook page for Camp Lejeune victims, which Tara runs, say that’s not really happening.
“They’re telling me there’s no awareness, they go into these VA facilities, there’s nothing, there’s nothing on the wall, nothing on the tables, nothing,” Craver explained.
Craver is preapred to bring signs, brochures, posters and flyers to VA facilities from Florida to Phoenix. She is going ot get the word out, even if it means she has to do it alone.