Jackson Twp. veteran still fighting 4-year battle for benefits

JACKSON TWP., Ohio (WYTV) – A veteran from Jackson Township who has been fighting Veterans Affairs still doesn’t have the benefits he says are rightly his.

Dave Metzler, who now lives in Florida, has been fighting for the benefits for four years with his daughter, Patty. She said they’ve had some victories, but still no benefits.

Dave has had health issues ever since serving the Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in the late 1950s.

“He’s still having a hard time with the pain and getting around. He doesn’t get out of the house much, but he’s still kicking,” Patty said.

She’s convinced that contaminated water at Camp Lejeune during the time her father served there caused his neurological problems and chronic pain.

In 2012, President Obama signed a bill allowing Camp Lejeune veterans exposed to the contaminated water to collect benefits through Veterans Affairs. The Metzlers applied, but were denied twice.

Since then, Patty said they got a notice of the third and final appeal before the VA review board in early summer. Seven months later, there’s still no date set for the hearing.

The hearing will be by teleconference because Dave can’t travel.

“They said, ‘If you traveled to Washington, it would be a lot quicker than if you tried to get a video conference,’ but again, he can’t travel,” Patty said.

The Metzlers have also hired a lawyer from Jacksonville, Florida who specializes in VA cases.

“He is trying to get one more opinion, an expert opinion from another neurologist,” Patty said. “So he thinks that if we have that second opinion and also that one from [Columbus neurologist Dr. Zarife] Sahenk that we had before from Ohio State, that that might win us the case.”

Patty can’t wait for the appeal hearing so she can tell the board what she thinks of their process.

“The VA is just closing doors to people, where they’re making it so hard to get in and they’re dragging things out so long that I think a lot of the people are dying before they get a chance to get through the whole process.”

Dave will be featured in a book titled “Tuesday’s Promise” by Louis Carlos Montalvan. It will be released in May.

Patty’s hoping that extra exposure will also help her father’s cause.