A Robstown couple is headed to a congressional hearing in Washington D.C. to bring awareness to the deadly side effects of toxic exposure in the military.
Rosie and Leroy Torres started Burn Pits 360 after Leroy was diagnosed with Conjunctive Bronchitis which is commonly found among those exposed to the toxic fumes of burn pits.
Since then Torres has been in and out of the hospital numerous times and was forced to retire from both the army reserves and his job as a DPS State Trooper.
In 2007 Leroy Torres was deployed to Iraq where he lived downwind from a burn pit where anything from cadavers and medical waste were disposed of.
"You know I was more worried about getting shot or mortors incoming but I wasn't even worried about what I might have been breathing in," Torres said.
Because of the exposure, Leroy Torres and hundreds of thousands of former and current military members health has deteriorated.
But the Department of Defense will not give them specialized healthcare and hasn't compensated the families left behind.
"It not only affects the veterans but it's also affecting the families," Torres said. "A lot of these veterans have young children and family and kids and how are we gonna pay for their college."
Back in May the Torres' went to Washington D.C. to speak with Veteran Affairs officials about their cause.
"It's a new war on a whole new battlehround and you learn this resilinace that you didn't even know is in you," Rosie Torres said."
With the help on Congressman Joaquin Castro and other legislators they were granted a congressionakl briefing on Thursday.
"We are trying to put together all 300 questions that have been submitted to us via survey to present them to the panel members," Rosie torres said.
But on the brink of the congressional briefing, U.S. District Judge Roger Titus dismissed a class action lawsuit against, KBR, the government contractor responsible for burn pits across Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was a setback in Burn Pit 360's efforts.
"One door may close," Leroy Torres said. "But we are looking for another one to open so we can continue with our mission because we know that it is a long drawn out fight."
The couple hopes Thursday's briefing will be that opportunity.
"Many people are dying and many have died but get their attention to grant them the specialized healthcare and the benefits and to create a copmpensation fund," Rosie Torres said.
The Burn Pits 360 Congressional Briefing will be live streamed on BurnPits360.org.