Veterans Cemetery Grants Program partners with states and tribes to honor Veterans


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VA’s Veterans Cemetery Grants Program (VCGP) wrapped up another year partnering with states and tribes to bring burial benefits to deserving Veterans, spouses and family members. VA awarded 15 grants totaling more than $47 million to establish, expand and improve state and tribal Veterans cemeteries in fiscal year (FY) 2015.

New construction recently completed on tribal lands for the Yurok Veterans Cemetery in California.

New construction recently completed on tribal lands for the Yurok Veterans Cemetery in California.

“FY 2015 was a robust year and I look forward to the challenges ahead as we care for our Veterans and their eligible family members,” said VCGP Director George Eisenbach.

As part of VA’s National Cemetery Administration (NCA), the grants program funds the establishment of Veterans’ cemeteries and then transfers them to the states and tribes to administer. VCGP’s mission also includes funding the expansion, improvement and maintenance of state and tribal cemeteries using a priority system to determine the greatest need.

VCGP funded the establishment of five new Veterans cemeteries this year, including two state cemeteries: Fort Stanton Veterans Cemetery in New Mexico and the North Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery. VA funded three tribal cemeteries, including the White Eagle Cemetery for the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma; the Apsaalooke Veterans Cemetery for the Crow Tribe of Indians in Montana and the Big Sandy Rancheria Veterans Cemetery for the Big Sandy Rancheria Band of Western Mono Indians in California.

This year, Eisenbach noted increased interest in tribal Veterans’ cemetery grants, attributing the growing awareness to word of mouth and VA’s own outreach efforts. “Every chance I get to talk to tribal councils, tribal governments, tribal members—you name it—I speak with them about the program. I find that a lot of folks really don’t know that the program is there for them,” he said.

The committal shelter at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Glenville

The committal shelter at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Glenville.

In addition to establishing new cemeteries, VCGP provided grants for expansion projects at nine state facilities. Cemeteries eventually reach capacity, which can lead to Veterans in the cemetery service area losing access to their burial benefit. To prevent this, VA extends the service life of cemeteries by developing previously undeveloped land or by adding columbaria.

VCGP funded expansion projects at the Maui Veterans Cemetery in Hawaii; the Connecticut State Veterans Cemetery; the Alabama State Veterans Memorial Cemetery at Spanish Fort; the Northern Maine Veterans’ Cemetery; the Southern Maine Veterans Cemetery; the Vermont Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery; the West Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery; the Crownsville Veterans Cemetery in Maryland and the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.

Eisenbach said that, in the future, he believes expansion projects will be the focal point of the program. “I think there will come a time when we won’t be establishing as many new cemeteries because most areas in the country will be covered,” he said. “Expansions are already our number one priority.”

Additionally, VCGP funded one operations and maintenance (O&M) project at the Georgia Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Glennville. O&M grants pay for raising, realign­ing and cleaning headstones and markers; leveling gravesites; and refurbishing turf. These projects help state and tribal Veterans’ cemeteries reach the same shrine standards of appearance as the national cemeteries.

From the program’s inception in 1978 through 2015, NCA has awarded more than $617 million through VCGS to establish, expand or improve 95 Veterans cemeteries in 47 states or territories. State and tribal Veterans cemeteries continue to be true partners with NCA, con­ducting more than 32,000 interments in FY 2014.


Erbe head shotChris Erbe is a public affairs specialist with the National Cemetery Administration. He is a 26-year Veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served as a musician and public affairs officer.

Author

Chris Erbe

Chris Erbe is a public affairs specialist with the National Cemetery Administration. He is a 26-year Veteran of the U.S. Navy where he served as a musician and public affairs officer.

Comments

  1. Mark Bruschuk    

    I have a cousin buried in his home town of Earlville,IL. He died on active duty in 2011. There is no gravestone marking his grave. How can I get VA to get him one? I was sad to find this out when I returned from overseas this year. Thanks

  2. Chris Erbe    

    Hi, Dan. Check out the National Cemetery Administration website for further information: http://www.cem.va.gov. Or call our office at 202-632-8035.

  3. Dan Faulkner    

    I live in Silver Spring Maryland 20906. I would like information on Military Cemetarys and burial, as I’am a US Army Veteran
    1962 – 1964.
    Thank you
    Dan Faulkner

  4. Roberto B. Ansag    

    The VA really care much for those heroic Veterans.

  5. Perry    

    This is an excellent scheme and it is very valuable to have something like this for Veterans. At the very least, Veterans deserve to be buried with dignity and honors after they have served their country. Unfortunately I know many Veterans families that will struggle with burial costs, so this might take a little of the burden off their minds. 

  6. Stephen Harrell    

    Here in Louisiana there are many Civil War Veterans graves. At the time of burial the quality of the headstones was sadly lacking compared to what is now available. Many of these markers are deteriorated to the point of illegibility or nearly so. Is there some program available to replace or preserve these headstones?

    1. Chris Erbe    

      Here’s some information about headstone replacement, Stephen: http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/hmm/replacements.asp

  7. Stephen Roderick hammond    

    Would it be possible to get info on cemetary or burial types in or at Boulder City and Denver Colorado.please email info.

    1. Chris Erbe    

      Boulder City, NV: Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery 702-486-5920
      Denver, CO: Fort Logan National Cemetery (303) 761-0117

  8. Herman Hulsey    

    I want to be able to get the information

  9. philipchavis    

    thank for caring for my parents 1550 nat cematerey phenx az dixon chavis us army rose chavis bothserved ww2

  10. owen martin    

    The NNJVC (Northern New Jersey Veterans Cemetery) in Sussex County New Jersey, is about to open. The project of 67 acres, can be viewed on http://www.vva1002.org. This is not a county or state supported cemetery, but would like info on veterans admin grants.

    Thanks

    1. Chris Erbe    

      Here’s a link to VA’s Veterans Cemetery Grants Program: http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/grants/index.asp

  11. owen martin    

    The Northern New Jersey Veterans Cemetery, is about to open in Sussex county New Jersey. Need information to have the veterans admin. participate with us in their grant program.. info is on our web site http://www.vva1002.org

    thanks.
    .

  12. A. Melillo    

    How do I find out who to contact about cleaning grave markers in my area of Cape Cod.

    1. Chris Erbe    

      Contact the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne: (508) 563-7113. And see the above comment to Donald.

  13. Robinson Elsburro    

    Wondering what funds, programs or influence might be available from the VA to support the upkeep of those other National Cemeteries now under the maintenance responsibility of the Department of the Interior (National Parks). Some really need attention.

  14. Donald Jett    

    I’m a Navy Viet Nam veteran. I would like the opportunity to take part in cleaning the head stones and markers of our vets in my area. We have a special cleaner just for this type of cleaning.
    Please contact me via email
    Thank you for your undying devotion and service to our country and to our vets.
    Sincerely,
    Donald Jett
    President
    Jet Power Washing Inc.

    1. Chris Erbe    

      Hi, Donald. Check with your local Vet cemetery for volunteer opportunities. Be sure to check out these best practices for headstone cleaning before you use detergents or pressure washers.
      http://ncptt.nps.gov/wp-content/uploads/Best-Practices-Final.pdf

Comments are closed.