This Generation’s “Agent Orange”

Service Before Self, produced by Dixon Center for Military & Veterans Services, Retired Army Colonel Sam Whitehurst, the host, is tackling the evolving needs of veterans and their families, based on the idea that veterans can succeed in the community where they live. One of those evolving and emerging needs is dealing with exposure to toxins produced by the open-air combustion of trash and other waste in burn pits in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other areas of Southwest Asia. This exposure has led to cancers, respiratory diseases, and other illnesses that are wreaking havoc among this generation’s veterans, like the experiences of Vietnam Veterans and their exposure to Agent Orange.

Service Before Self introduces you to people and programs that are having an impact today; their successes and lessons learned in creating effective programs in which veterans reach their full potential. Burn Pits 360 is a non-profit organization that is making a difference in the lives of veterans and their families who are dealing with the effects of exposure to burn pits while deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. Under the leadership of Rosie Torres and her husband, Captain (Ret.) LeRoy Torres, Burn Pits 360 is giving voice to veterans and their families who are struggling to find treatment and support for their debilitating illnesses and diseases.

On Service Before Self, Episode 4: History Repeating Itself: Exposure to Burn Pits and the Legacy of Agent Orange with Rosie Torres, Executive Director of Burn Pits 360Rosie shares her families struggle to get the VA to recognize and treat his illnesses and the illnesses and diseases of other veterans who were exposed to the smoke produced by burn pits. She also discusses and shares key advice on starting a nonprofit to support veterans and provides information on how you can help Congress and the VA to finally address this very serious and pressing issue.

Collaborating with people and programs, like Rosie, LeRoy, and Burn Pits 360, is an example of Dixon Center’s approach of not creating new programs but making existing programs more impactful. Dixon Center’s Operation Burn Pit is addressing the toxic wounds of war through advocacy, partnerships and outreach. Along with Burn Pits 360, Dixon Center is a partner with several other organizations, mobilizing a national advocacy and awareness effort designed to engage policy makers, while forcing recognition of burn pit exposure. To learn more about Dixon Center’s efforts in supporting veterans suffering from burn pit exposure and other airborne hazards, see the Dixon Center Bugler: Operation Burn Pit and contact Colonel (Ret.) Sam Whitehurst, VP of Programs & Services, at

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