Recently, Dayton History opened to the public their latest historical exhibit detailing the history of operations at the Mound Nuclear Facility in Miamisburg. The Cold War Discovery Center highlights the work conducted at Mound Laboratories. By all accounts, it was important work. It was top-secret, and it was dangerous for the workers - many of whom were exposed to radiation and other toxic elements used at the site.
It’s a subject that Deb Goode Jerison knows a lot about. She’s the founder of Energy Employees Claimant Assistant Project - or EECAP. The non-profit helps energy workers file compensation claims with the federal government. Jerison started EECAP in 2007 after she began helping her mother, with a claim she had filed on behalf of her husband Jim - Deb’s father - who worked at the Mound Lab and died a very young age.
“My father, Jim Goode, was a physicist at Mound Lab. He was there from 1949 to 1957 , and he died in 1960, we thought from Hodgkin's Disease, and it was a family tragedy but that’s kind of all.”
It was decades later when a different picture of her father’s death emerged. In 2000, Congress passed the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act (EEOICPA). The program was set up to compensate nuclear weapons workers whom Congress found had been damaged “without their knowledge or consent”.
Jerison’s mother filed a claim not realizing it would be such a long and difficult process. Jerison began helping with that process. Eventually it lead to the formation of EECAP and since that time, she has helped other workers, and families of deceased workers, obtain compensation and medical care.
In this interview with WYSO, Jerison recounts this story in more detail and talks about the work she's doing today.