Vietnam Veterans of America, Niagara County chapter 268, will host a town hall meeting to address the birth defects, diseases and learning disabilities affecting the children and grandchildren of U.S. veterans at 9 a.m. Saturday at Niagara County Community College, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road.

The meeting will explore issues surrounding exposure to Agent Orange and other toxic chemicals, according to VVA 268 event chairman Gordon Bellinger. The goals are to bring attention to hidden costs of military service and encourage the government to assist the diagnosis and treatment of birth defects.

"We cannot be silent about the effects of our battlefield exposures on our children in the face of overwhelming evidence connecting many diseases and birth defects to exposure to ... toxic chemicals," Bellinger said. "Veterans of all wars are subjected to many contaminates and most were not aware of what was being used or what effects these would have on their health. ... We encourage all veterans with children and/or grandchildren suffering from illnesses, learning disabilities, or physical disabilities to come share their stories."

The keynote speaker at the meeting is Nancy S. Switzer, associate of VVA Inc. and co-chair of its toxic exposure committee. Local agencies sending representatives are Veterans Affairs — Buffalo and Niagara County Veterans Service Agency.

Saturday's meeting will be held in lecture hall E-140; park in lot No. 1 and enter the Arts and Media building. Doors open at 8:15 a.m.

For more information, call Bellinger at 625-4470.

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