Veterans enroll to receive PACT Act benefits
DURANT, Okla. (KTEN) -- "I was quickly deployed in 2003, and I was also deployed in 2006 — both to Iraq — and that set me on a path I never thought I had to do," said US Army National Guard veteran Katrina Yocum.
She said she felt called to join the military at that young age.
"I was at Camp TQ, Al-Taqaddum in Iraq," Yocum said. "We did convoy security and route clearance. That was 2006, so that was a time before females were considered to be on the front line, which I was on the front line every day."
During Yocum's time in Iraq, a mortar came through her campsite.
"That mortar actually landed very close to me and our facility, and that of course causes a blast for your body to fall over and hit your head," she said.
Yocum still feels the effects of that explosion to this day.
"I was having all these issues with migraines, and I would sometimes blank out, and no one understood why," she said. "I started getting MRIs on my brain, and they found out I had two brain aneurysms."
In 2022, the PACT Act took effect. It opened many doors for Yocum to find the care she needed.
"That led to me going to more appointments to figure out why I have these brain aneurysms and why the situation was what it was," she said.
On Wednesday, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Choctaw Nation hosted a PACT Act claims event to help other military veterans like Yocum.
"Veterans has had so many issues over the years that they have not been able to seek health care for, and this gives them an opportunity to do so," said Akeam Ashford, spokesperson for Eastern Oklahoma Veterans Affairs Health Care System.