Army veteran’s family agrees to $2.5 million in settlement with VA over wrongful death suit

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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Aaron Merritt sits in a armored vehicle in Iraq. Merritt did one tour in Iraq, and two in Afghanistan. He later died in 2014 while being treated for colitis at a VA hospital. The VA recently agreed to a $2.5 million settlement with his parents in connection with his death.
COURTESY OF THE MERRITT FAMILY

Carol Merritt felt both intense pride and worry during the eight years of her son’s military service.

During Aaron Merritt’s three combat deployments, two as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, she’d sometimes glance at her home phone wondering when it would ring with dreadful news.

That call didn’t come and she felt she could finally breathe a sigh of relief when he was released from active duty in January 2014. But nine months later, on the afternoon of Oct. 28, 2014, her husband visited her at work and with a broken voice told her that their son had died.

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Wednesday night, the tech team at the Veterans Affairs Department launched their latest effort to improve the quality of services for former military personnel with the relaunch of VA.gov.

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The fate of an ongoing military buildup, war oversight, veterans affairs and decisions on who can enlist in the service now rests with a split Congress following the results of Tuesday’s midterm elections.

Many of Houston’s military veterans are taking refuge in faith-based organizations — whether they’re seeking help transitioning to civilian life, support while coping with PTSD, temporary housing solutions or ways to network with friends who share their experiences.​


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