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This Hometown Hero is fighting for his life and for others

KOB.com New Mexico
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May 28, 2012 AT 4:30 PM
when you hear the word "hero".. you often think of a soldier... and this next story is nothing short of heroic. a new mexico solider-- dying minute thumbnail 06:35 am from exposure to the burn pits in iraq -- is pushing for a change and making big strides with his family right at his side. it's this week's hometown heroes. master sergeant jessey baca and his wife maria are fighting... fighting for his life.. and fighting for our troops. "I don't want them to stumble on a lot of the things that I stumbled over, that we stumbled over." MASTER SERGEANT BACA has been serving our country for 37 years. he's completed two tours in iraq.. and he's dying because of his service. he has chemically induced asthma, constrictive bronchiolitis.. mesophelial hyperplasia.. all he says from the toxic fumes emitted from the burn pits. basically piles of trash lit on FIRE WITH JET FUEL. "When he breathes, he can breathe in but he can't breathe out. That's the problems that he's having. It feels like a cactus is coming out of his chest. He feels like these splinters and he can't get rid of them." AND HE'S NOT alone .. but he is facing several CHALLENGES. "The biggest roadblock is just getting people to listen." DOCTORS.. minute thumbnail 06:36 am lawmakers.. even other troops. "They instill this fear in you that you can't say anything. That you can't say anything as a solider." "It's just very time consuming. I mean, the frustration, that's where most people give up. After you're told no half a dozen times and get the door slammed in your face, the just stop going." BUT the doors are starting to open.. the baca's have gained the attention of local new mexico lawmakers.. and along with nine other families.. they've been pushing for legislation in washington d-c to create a burn pit registry so symptoms.. caused by the burn pits.. don't GO UNRECOGNIZED. "My job has always been to take care of themnd I'm continuing to do that." THE BACAS SAY IT hasn't been EASY... "We are a family that hurts, emotionally, physically, financially, mentally because his medical bills have ripped us apart financially." BUT they know they're doing the right thing. master sergeant baca's message for other servicemen and women minute thumbnail 06:37 am IS SIMPLE. "Get the help that you need. Don't give up. message for other servicemen and WOMEN IS SIMPLE. "Get the help that you need. Don't give up. Don't give up." if you want more on the legislation pushing through washington d-c or the burn pits.. check out kob dot com. we have more information there.