Richland, Wash. –
Kegan’s Coffee and Crepes in Richland held its 5th annual national day of remembrance for nuclear workers in Richland today.
The event was hosted by the Nuclear Care Partners organization which helps former nuclear workers understand what benefits are available to them without affecting their wallets.
William Barnard, a retired nuclear worker is one of many that suffer the effects of working with hazardous chemicals.
He tells me “Numerous times heavy coughing, sore throat afterward, yeah I also worked at Purex for about a year, same thing, a lot of chemical hazards again. I think tank farms are the worst.
Barnard is assisted by the NCP. Barnard credits this organization for the help he’s received “I have two days a week of home nursing, two hours a day. They’ve also put me in a position where I can order medical supplies at no cost to me.”
Nelly De La Mora is the community outreach manager for the NCP and she says that they treat former atomic workers like veterans and want to honor them but tells me that this isn’t just for Hanford workers.
“We invite people who have worked out at Hanford, but also those who have worked out at the Idaho lab and New Mexico. They have all come in and get together and the purpose for all that is again, get together and mingle and also learn about the benefits they have.”
De La Mora says the common misconception is that you have to work for a certain amount of time to be eligible for benefits, but that’s not the case. She encourages people to contact her if you were a direct hire or sub-contractor.
The former worker received a free commemorative pin and a shirt and some crepes while visiting with other workers.