TAMPA (WFLA) - 8 On Your Side Senior Investigative Reporter Steve Andrews received a unique honor last week, when he was presented with the first-ever "Veterans Voice" award from the national veterans group Military Veterans Advocacy.
This national not-for-profit group represents our veterans when they are forced to fight for benefits that they are owed by the federal government, often as a result of medical claims extending from their service to our country.
A contingent of Military Veterans Advocacy representatives from all across America traveled to WFLA to present a surprised Steve with the inaugural award.
The Veterans Voice award recognized Steve and Target 8 photojournalist Gordon Dempsey for their work to see that more Vietnam Era-veterans are covered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the illnesses they have suffered due to the effects of the poisonous toxin Agent Orange.
Agent Orange was used as a defoliant during the war, at a time when the U.S. military strategy was to destroy trees and plants in hopes of eliminating hiding places for the Viet Cong. The potent toxin has been linked to major health problems for those who were exposed, including our men and women in uniform.
But thanks, in part, to the efforts of Steve and Target 8, Florida Congressman Dennis Ross has now introduced a bill in congress that would see those much-needed benefits are extended to veterans in need who currently do not qualify for coverage related to Agent Orange.
"I was surprised and touched when representatives of Military Veterans Advocacy presented me with the first ever Veterans Voice award," Steve wrote after the announcement, "Thank you, I am very humbled."
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