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Ada Iraq war veteran to address Congress on chemical exposure

30 Wounded Warriors from across the U.S. like James Kercheva of Ada are traveling over a thousand miles to Washington D.C. to address congress.
30 Wounded Warriors from across the U.S. like James Kercheva of Ada are traveling over a thousand miles to Washington D.C. to address congress.(KXII)
Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 10:51 PM CST
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30 wounded warriors including Ada Iraq war veteran, James Kercheval are flying over 1,000 miles to Washington D.C. to stand in front of congress and make their plea.

"Veterans are my life. To see that they're taking care of,” said Kercheval.

Kercheval will speak before a congressional committee on the topic of long term health issues due to chemical exposure while serving overseas.

"A few years ago I found out that I was exposed to chemicals in Iraq,” Kercheval said, “I’ve been getting a lot of problems because of it.”

Chemicals from improvised explosive devices, and other encounters with enemy substances are believed to be the cause of long-term health issues Kercheval is facing.

In two weeks, he plans to lift the curtain for lawmakers to see what it's done to his daily life and his fellow Iraqi war veterans.

"Well, I have polycythemia vera which is a blood cancer. There's veterans out there, right now, shouldn't have to fight like how I'm fighting,” said Kercheval.

The Wounded Warrior Project is funding the trip, so that soldiers from all military branches can ask for funding and legislation that will take care of warriors when they get home.

"With as many of us veterans going in and talking about these issues, I hope something is done,” said Kercheval.

Until he leaves, Kercheval will spend his time educating everyone he can about what's going on.

"We need to get on the ball and figure out how to treat this. But there's not many people talking about that kind of stuff, and it needs to be talked about,” said Kercheval.

When he is done in Washington D.C., he says he will return home to continue the fight.

"You know, I'm telling you as a veteran myself who was in the military, I was hardcore. You know what? Sometimes you gotta be like that in the outside world too,” said Kercheval.

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