Remembering Fred Tyler, Co-Founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium
CCNS NEWS UPDATE
Runs 2/28/14 through 3/7/14
(THEME UP AND UNDER) This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Here is this week’s top headline:
· Remembering Fred Tyler, Co-Founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium
Fred Tyler, co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, passed away suddenly on February 14th from an unknown lung ailment. Born in 1950 in the Tularosa Basin, Tyler was very active in his community and church, and was currently serving as a Tularosa Village Trustee. For 35 years Tyler worked for the Army and Air Force Exchange. During that time, he and his family moved 14 times before returning to Tularosa. He soon became a pecan and grape farmer.
In 2004, Tyler co-founded the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium with Tina Cordova. They both were raised in Tularosa and had heard the stories about the searing light that rose into the sky the morning of July 16, 1945. The community had been told that it was a military ammunition cache that had exploded, but it was actually the first plutonium atomic weapon explosion at the Trinity Test Site some 35 miles northwest of Tularosa. Over 13 pounds of plutonium did not fission and remains unaccounted for.
Tyler, the eldest son of Rufina Utter Tyler, had often heard the first hand stories of the blast from his mother who suffered multiple bouts of different forms of cancer. Tyler had often wondered how the blast played in the cancer that ultimately took his mother.
Cordova researched the regional autoimmune disease and cancer statistics and found that, in 1999, the national average was 202.7 per 100,000 people. In their Otero County, Cordova found it was 694.6. In neighboring Lincoln County, the rate was 764.5 per 100,000 people. The numbers have remained consistent throughout the years.
Cordova and Tyler founded the Consortium to gather data from family histories and individuals who may have been damaged by exposure to the Trinity radiation. Reinforced with the data, they went to the congressional offices to ask for financial compensation and medical benefits for the New Mexico downwinders under the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA).
Senator Tom Udall has led the effort to include the Trinity downwinders in the proposed amendments to RECA, which is co-sponsored by Senator Martin Heinrich. http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1272 Representative Ben Ray Lujan introduced a companion bill in the House, which is co-sponsored by Representatives Michelle Lujan Grisham and Steve Pearce. http://lujan.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=3§iontree=&searchkey=radiation+exposure+compensation+act
In February, the New Mexico Legislature passed a House Memorial 36 in the support of the RECA amendments. http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/legislation.aspx?Chamber=H&LegType=M&LegNo=36&year=14 Representative Brian Egolf introduced the Memorial. It was put on the Consent Order and passed unanimously on the House floor. Senate Memorial 35, sponsored by Senator Howie Morales, did not get heard on the floor of the Senator. The Senator was prepared to say on the floor, ““Senate Memorial 35 is dedicate to the life and work of Fred Tyler, co-founder of Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, who died during this session.” Senator Morales, who is running for governor, is committed to advancing RECA however he is able. Holly Beaumont, with Interfaith Worker Justice, led the effort to shepherd the memorial through the 30-day session.
Tina Cordova, said, “It is our honor to dedicate this Memorial to the memory of Fred Tyler who worked tirelessly to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to include the people of New Mexico who have been damaged by exposure to radiation from the Trinity blast. The work of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium will go on but we will forever miss Fred and what he brought to our efforts.”
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For more information about the work of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, please open the link vimeo.com/85980906 to see a short video, “Forgotten: Trinity’s Downwinders.” Produced by journalists Dennis Carroll and Natalie Guillen, the sizzle reel features Fred Tyler and other Trinity Downwinders. It was made to elicit support and contributions toward production of a full-length documentary that will tell the story of the decades-long suffering of those who lived near and downwind from the 1945 Trinity atomic test.
|Sizzle Reel for “Forgotten: Trinity’s Downwinders”
http://vimeo.com/85980906 About this video
“Dismissed and abandoned for nearly 70 years, New Mexico residents who lived near the site of the first detonation of a nuclear bomb suffered in silence – until now. To contribute and be a part of this historic project, please visit the film’s Web site at childrenofthebomb.blogspot.com.”
The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium has been working for years to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include the people of New Mexico, as they were the first Downwinders. Please share the film’s Web page link, childrenofthebomb.blogspot.com (no www) with everyone you know. We need to bring attention to this issue.
Tax-deductible gifts, made in Fred Tyler’s memory, can be made to CAPPED Support Services, 907 New York Avenue, Alamogordo, NM 88310, and phone number (575) 434-4673. CAPPED Support Services is a non-profit cancer support center in Alamogordo that is accepting contributions for the Carroll and Guillen video “Forgotten: Trinity’s Downwinders.” Please indicate in the memo line of your check that your contribution is for the documentary. You can also make a contribution on the documentary’s Web page, childrenofthebomb.blogspot.com, or at www.capped.org. Please designate Trinity Film Project in the purpose field.
The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium is extremely grateful for your support.