After enlisting into the United States Army in 1989, Mr. Methvin completed Military Police One-Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort McClellan, AL. Following his training, Mr. Methvin was assigned to an installation in Germany; and, unfortunately was involved in an accident and was required to be medically-transferred back to the United States. After recuperating from his injuries at Fort Sam Houston, TX, in 1990, Mr. Methvin returned to Fort McClellan for an assignment with the installation’s Military Police Company. Mr. Methvin was first made aware of the chemical toxin exposures relating to Fort McClellan and Anniston, AL in 2013. He was inspired by the countless stories he heard, so much so, that he created an independent film documentary titled, “Toxic Service: The Soldiers Story;” and, has continued to serve as an advocate for Fort McClellan Veterans.
Diane M. Zumatto
United States Army (Women's Army Corps) Veteran; Former AMVETS National Legislative Director
Diane M. Zumatto of Spotsylvania, VA served as the AMVETS National Legislative Director from 2011 to 2016. Zumatto a native New Yorker and the daughter of immigrant parents decided to follow in her family’s footsteps by joining the military. Ms. Zumatto is a former Women’s Army Corps/U.S. Army member who was stationed in Germany and Ft. Bragg, NC, was married to a CW4 aviator in the Washington Army National Guard, and is the mother of four adult children, two of whom joined the military.
Ms. Zumatto has been an author of the Independent Budget (IB) since 2011. The IB, which is published annually, is a comprehensive budget & policy document created by veterans for veterans. Because the IB covers all the issues important to veterans, including: veteran/survivor benefits; judicial review; medical care; construction programs; education, employment and training; and National Cemetery Administration, it is widely anticipated and utilized by the White House, VA, Congress, as well as, other Military/Veteran Service Organizations.
Among her responsibilities as the former AMVETS National Legislative Director, Ms. Zumatto has historically provided both oral and written testimony for various congressional committees and subcommittees, including the House/Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. Ms. Zumatto was also responsible for establishing and pursuing the annual legislative priorities for AMVETS, developing legislative briefing/policy papers, and was a quarterly contributor to ‘American Veteran’ magazine. Ms. Zumatto has focused on toxic wounds/Gulf War Illness, veteran employment and transition, military sexual trauma, veteran discrimination and memorial affairs issues. During her recent tenure, Ms. Zumatto was the only female Legislative Director in the veteran’s community, has more than 20 years of experience working with a variety of non-profits in increasingly more challenging positions, including: the American Museum of Natural History; the National Federation of Independent Business; the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Realtors; The Washington State Association of Fire Chiefs; Saint Martin’s College; the James Monroe Museum; the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield and The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States. Ms. Zumatto's non-profit experience is extremely well-rounded as she has variously served in both staff and volunteer positions including as a board member and consultant. Ms. Zumatto received a B.A. in Historic Preservation from the University of Mary Washington, in 2005.
Jerome "Jerry" Ensminger
Retired Master Sergeant (USMC); Camp Lejeune contaminated water Activist; The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten
One of the earliest Lejeune water activists, retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, has been on the case since 1997—from the time he first heard about a government report that revealed the multi-decade presence of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Ensminger was stationed there when his daughter, Janey, was conceived in 1975. After a stint at Parris Island, Ensminger transferred back to Lejeune. Janey had subtle physical difficulties from birth, but grew up an active and happy girl. In 1983 she came down with a case of strep throat she couldn’t seem to shake. Ensminger took her to the Naval Hospital at Camp Lejeune, where leukemia was diagnosed. Janey died in September 1985.
Ensminger, as any parent would be, was devastated. He would be haunted for years to come. How could this sort of thing happen? Janey had been so vibrant and alert, so happy. How could such suffering be visited on a child? One August day in 1997 Ensminger saw a news report about an obscure government study that examined water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The study identified high levels of VOCs in Lejeune’s water and detailed the health hazards of exposure to VOCs, including leukemia. Ensminger, stunned by the implications, saw his life change in that moment. Over the years he has become the most recognizable face of the Lejeune debacle, an outspoken and unflagging voice for the human devastation wrought by the unfettered chemical contamination of a public water supply.
“I’ve worked the Lejeune case for nineteen years and counting,” Ensminger said, a period in which the likelihood of his daughter’s death—and the illnesses and deaths of many others—has been connected by numerous scientific studies to the poisonous stew of chemicals that once flowed in Camp Lejeune’s water. But Ensminger is far more than a torchbearer for the injured and aggrieved. A tireless in-the-trenches advocate, he has built critical alliances, testified before Congress, and—along with fellow activists Mike Partain and retired Marine officer Tom Townsend—helped build a large, informed, and vocal community of Camp Lejeune victims.
Read more about Camp Lejeune and Jerry's efforts in"Contamination & Betrayal; the continuing saga of Camp Lejeune's toxic water" by Richard Currey.
Bill Lee Klingenberg
USMC Vietnam Veteran; Contaminated Marines of Camp Lejeune Facebook Group Founder; VA Program Support Assistant & Claims Examiner
Bill Lee Klingenberg served our country during the Vietnam War as a United States Marine, assigned to the First Marine Aircraft Wing. Following his return to the United States, Bill has been actively working to assist other Veterans through his tireless service to nonprofit/volunteer organizations, fundraising efforts, awareness campaigns, and social media outreach. He has been instrumental in disseminating information and awareness about the Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water crisis, as is evident through his Facebook group page.
Bill has been credited with providing personal care and relief to fellow Veterans who were suicidal; as well as, suffering from alcohol and drug addictions. His dedication to assisting others in need, has been formally recognized through awards and written commendations. Bill has studied Construction Engineering, horticulture, and public speaking. He has assisted Veterans with their service-connected disability claims, as a VA Claims Examiner who truly cares about the individual needs of each and every Veteran he assists. Bill has also worked within the Insurance industry and is currently employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Program Support Assistant, providing education and outreach. A proud member of the Cherokee Nation; along with being a direct descendant of Sequoyah, Bill Lee Klingenberg has been involved in traditional teachings within the Native community. He enjoys spending time on his 25-acre ranch on the Black Gum Mountain Range with his family and many horses.
John B. Wells, Esq.
Retired Commander, USN; Executive Director - Military-Veterans Advocacy; Blue Water Navy Activist; Special Legal Counsel for Operation Stand Together
Commander John B. Wells, USN (Ret) served in the United States Navy from February 1972 through July of 1994. During that period, he served in a number of assignments ashore and afloat.
Commander Wells graduated from Duquesne University School of Law in 1994 and is now a practicing attorney in Slidell and in Washington DC.
He is also the Executive Director of Military-Veterans Advocacy, a non-profit who legislates, litigates and educates on behalf of veterans and current members of the armed forces. He travels to Washington DC several times a year to promote veterans legislation before Congress.
Commander Wells also serves as legal advisor to the Parish President’s Veterans Military Affairs Advisory Council and is an elected member of the Republican Party Executive Committee for St. Tammany Parish. He is a life member of MOAA.
He and his wife Janice have two daughters, five grandchildren and one great grandchild.
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ANTICIPATED TO APPEAR AND/OR SPEAK
Stephen Griswold, Event Chaplain
United States Army (MP) Veteran; Retired Fire Department Chaplain
Stephen Griswold is a toxic veteran having served at Fort McClellan Alabama at USAMPS in the mid 1980’s. Following his military service he continued serving others through public safety by serving various communities around the country through Police, Fire and EMS. He felt an even higher calling on his life and became an ordained minister through The Salvation Army where he was commissioned with the rank of Lieutenant and given a pastorate in Michigan. For the past 14 years he along with his wife and two sons has lived in Leesburg Florida where until recently he has served as the Fire Department Chaplain for Leesburg Fire Rescue. His deep love of his country, pride in his service and devotion to his fellow veterans is something he strives to share with people on a daily basis. “God has blessed me to be able to live and serve in the greatest nation in the world.”
David O. Carpenter, MD - TENTATIVE AGREEMENT
Director, Institute for Health and the Environment, University at Albany, SUNY
David O. Carpenter is a public health physician who serves as director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization, as well as a professor of environmental health sciences at UAlbany's School of Public Health.
He previously served as Director of the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health, and as Dean of the University at Albany School of Public Health. Carpenter, who received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, has more than 370 peer-reviewed publications, 6 books and 50 reviews and book chapters to his credit. Dr. Carpenter is also known for having identified Anniston, Alabama as the "most contaminated site in the U.S.," as featured in a CBS 60 Minutes episode.
Guest speakers for this one-day event are listed below. Be sure to check back often, as this list is growing.
Rebecca D. Costa
American Sociobiologist, Author, Host of "The Costa Report"
Rebecca Costa is an American sociobiologist who offers a genetic explanation for current events, emerging trends and individual behavior. A thought-leader and provocative new voice in the mold of Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell and Jared Diamond, Costa traces everything from terrorism, debt, epidemic obesity, and upheaval in the Middle East to evolutionary imperatives.
Retiring at the zenith of her career in Silicon Valley, Costa spent six years researching and writing The Watchman’s Rattle: A Radical New Theory of Collapse. In her book, Costa explains how the principles governing evolution cause and provide a solution for global gridlock. When asked why the book has special significance today, Costa claims, “Every person I know, rich or poor, educated or not, wants to know why our government gets more in debt, our air and water more polluted, our jails more crowded, our security more tenuous and our children more violent. We appear to have lost our ability to solve our problems. The Watchman’s Rattle offers a genetic explanation for paralysis, and prescribes a way out.”
The success of Costa’s first book led to a weekly radio program in 2010 calledThe Costa Report™. The Costa Report is nationally syndicated by the Business TalkRadio Network and VoiceAmerica and is currently one of the fastest growing radio programs on the West Coast.
A former CEO and founder of one of the largest marketing firms in Silicon Valley (sold in 1999 to J. Walter Thompson), Costa developed an extensive track record of introducing new technologies. Her clients included industry giants such as Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, Oracle Corporation, Seibel Systems, 3M, Amdahl, and General Electric Corporation. Costa is known for her marketing work on the world’s first computer-aided design and manufacturing systems (CAD/CAM), computer networking, and first multimedia microprocessors.
Raised in Tokyo, Japan, Costa lived during the Vietnam conflict in Vientiane, Laos, where her father worked in covert CIA operations. She attributes her ability to see the “big picture” to her cross-cultural education and upbringing. She graduated from The University of California at Santa Barbara with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences.
Costa lives on the Central Coast of California with her beloved dog, Tonka. For additional information visit www.rebeccacosta.com.
Representative Jack Bergman
USMC, LtGEN (Ret.); (R-MI-1)
Activist; Founder of March Against Monsanto
Tami Canal is a 34 year old wife and mother of 3 young children. She is the founder of March Against Monsanto, a global initiative that has been instrumental in raising awareness about the toxic food supply, as well as the carcinogenic herbicides used all over the food we feed our families and Monsanto's numerous crimes against humanity.
Tami works with numerous groups in an effort to safeguard the next generation's health and advocates for safe food, clean air and water, and vaccine education and transparency. She also works closely with the founder of the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance (COVVHA) to raise issues on Monsanto's contribution to horrific war crimes including Agent Orange and current-day white phosphorous.
Walter Chun, PhD
Safety & Health Engineer
Walter Chun is a safety and health engineer with over 45 years in the safety and health field. He started his career in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion program in the late 1960’s when working on nuclear powered vessels. Radiological safety and health for workers and the environment and later in the industrial safety and health management formed the basis for his career. As former U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Area Director in the Pacific he expanded his experience and knowledge in safety, health and the environment. He is now an independent safety, health and environmental consultant working with industries like, construction, healthcare, maritime and marine repair, and specialized industries. He is an expert witness and has worked on over 50 civil cases involving injury and illness to workers and members of the public.
He was the general manager and safety and health manager on a military construction project to build 212 family housing units in Hawaii. In 2005 the Navy directed the general contractor to spread pesticide contaminated soils in and around the newly constructed homes. Since 2006 he has worked to bring attention to the intentional construction of military homes on land contaminated with pesticides by the private contractors.
Military families past, present and future are not aware of the presence of the organochlorine pesticides and carcinogens in and around their homes at the military housing projects in Hawaii. He has worked with a former Marine spouse to bring about awareness and education of the exposure to organochlorine pesticides through social media.
Lisa Jo Sarro
United States Army (MP) Veteran; Social Media Group Activist
Lisa Jo Sarro attended basic training and Military Police school at Fort McClellan beginning in June of 1984. Sarro's Brother Tommy also attended training at Ft. McClellan in 1986. She believes it was there that both of their health problems began.
After completing training she was stationed with the 25th USACH MP Company at Schofield Barracks Hawaii. Following her honorable discharge she spent 9 years as a firefighter while being a ride along volunteer civilian Police Officer for 8 years. Lisa later went back to school and graduated a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). She had high hopes to put her new degree to good use but she could not pursue a career in her field because of her increasing health issues. She is the proud mother to a 27 year old Son and a daughter who's 24. She also has 2 grandchildren, a 4 year old boy and 3 year old girl.
Sarro began noticing health problem directly after MP training beginning with memory loss. Today at 49 years old, Lisa says she's "on a bag full of medicines, 14 daily." Her current ailments reads like a grocery list for a busy restaurant.
When asked what she is currently suffering she stated, "I had a hysterectomy at 25 a thyroid removal at 28 from a goiter, have a heart arrhythmia, liver problems, alpha 1 lung disease, insomnia, sharp random pain in my ears, degenerative disc disease, carpal tunnel, Sjögren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, severe depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, gallbladder removal, possible lymphoma, my lymph nodes are crystallizing, IBS, possible Crohn's disease,TMJ, chronic fatigue, terrible vision, memory loss, breathing problems, skin condition including sores, itchy skin, excessive thirst, and I am pre-diabetic."
Lisa is not the only one suffering medical problems in her family. She brought up her children, grandchildren and brother saying, "My son had leukemia and suffers from depression, my grandson had cancer and the mass pushed his heart to the opposite side, my granddaughter had heart problems, and my 24 yr old daughter was diagnosed with a blood disorder, had blood clots in both lungs and one leg, had a hysterectomy at 23 and a large mass removed. She also suffers from depression. My baby brother was a toxic soldier from Fort McClellan. He died at 46 yrs old in August of 2013. I truly miss him."
United States Army (MP) Veteran; Independent Film-Maker