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Local couple to be guests for president's State of the Union address

Guests of U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro
Rosie and Le Roy Torres.jpg
Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-28 19:44:47-05

ROBSTOWN, Texas — On Tuesday, Le Roy and Rosie Torres will be the virtual guests of U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro for President Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The couple founded Burn Pit 360, a local organization that advocates for soldiers who have been exposed to toxic materials in their time in the military.

Le Roy Torres, a retired U.S. Army Captain, knows first-hand how dangerous burn pits can be for the health of soldiers. He was diagnosed with Constrictive Bronchiolitis and Toxic Brain Injury after serving in Iraq.

“I started having these massive cluster headaches. At times, they would last eight days,” he said. “I would have to go to the emergency room, and they would start an IV to give me pain medication. At times, they would give me morphine, because nothing would help my pain.”

Castro has known the Torres family for several years.

“As soon as I heard their story, and the stories they were telling me about other service members, I knew that this was going to be a big deal,” he said. “It’s a way to start to address veterans who were exposed to burn pits.”

Rosie Torres said she was honored Castro chose her and her husband to be his guests.

“It’s just an honor, and humbling, to be able to attend,” she said.

Rosie Torres hopes President Biden will address the issue of burn pits in his address because he has a personal connection to it.

“President Biden has mentioned that he believes that there’s a possibility that his son may have died as a result of his exposure to burn pits,” she said.

Biden’s son, Beau, served in the Army, and died in 2015 from Glioblastoma.

“It’s our hope that they’ll honor Beau by making that part of his address, the speech, something to touch on the issue of this generation’s Agent Orange,” Rosie Torres said.

She also hopes if Biden addresses the issue, it will shine a light on a bill that will be voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives this week, the ‘Honoring Our PACT Act,’ which, if passed, would improve healthcare and benefits to soldiers who have been exposed to toxic substances in the line of duty.

“It’s not a Republican thing, it’s not a Democrat thing, it’s a partisan, it’s a red, white, and blue thing, and we need to do what’s right, and stop putting that burden on them,” Rosie Torres said.