Veteran and Councilmember Beck attends PACT Act presidential signing
Published on August 11, 2022
At the invitation of the White House, Fort Worth City Councilmember Elizabeth M. Beck traveled to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to be present as President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act. The legislation expands federal health care services for millions of veterans who were subject to toxic smoke from burn pits and other noxious substances during their service.
Beck, who has served the residents of District 9 since June 2021, is also one of the more than 3.5 million veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during service.
“It’s incredibly meaningful to be invited to this historic event, not just for me but for the 42,000 veterans who call Fort Worth home,” Beck said. “As a community we strive to honor their sacrifices every day, and we all share the responsibility of ensuring that our veterans have the support they need to fully address the consequences of war.”
After high school, Beck joined the U.S. Army Reserves, where she spent eight and a half years in the 223rd Maintenance Company based out of Grand Prairie. In 2005, she was deployed as a sergeant to Taji, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was there that she was exposed to burn pits.
During her 12 months serving in Taji, Beck woke up each day coughing and noticing black residue in her tissues after she blew her nose.
“I didn’t learn until much later that this was a symptom of being exposed to toxic smoke from the burn pit that smoldered 24 hours a day,” Beck said.
In the 17 years since her exposure to burn pits, Beck had been reluctant to seek benefits because of the arduous process. However, Beck sees the PACT Act as “a bold step to recognize the effects of environmental exposure associated with service and removing the red tape to access the care and benefits veterans have earned.”
Photo: Councilmember Elizabeth Beck and Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley visited the White House for the signing of the PACT Act.
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