$5M for Veterans Cemetery upgrades

WASHINGTON — Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) announced the state will be receiving over $6 million in federal funding from the Veterans Affairs Veterans Cemetery Grants Program to expand veterans cemeteries on Kaua‘i and Maui.

“Hawai‘i is committed to supporting its veterans, with eight state veterans cemeteries on six islands,” said VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves. “We are proud to provide Hawai‘i with this grant to help ensure that this level of commitment can continue for decades to come.”

The Kaua‘i Veterans Cemetery is scheduled to receive a grant of over $5 million primarily to fund the construction of 215 pre-placed crypts, 407 in-ground cremains gravesites, 640 columbarium niches and a new memorial wall.

Funds from the grant will also help maintain supporting infrastructure such as roadways, irrigation and landscaping on approximately 2.5 acres, and enable the cemetery to provide continued service for approximately 4,534 veterans and their eligible family members.

“Thousands of brave service members from Hawai‘i put their lives on the line to serve our country,” said Schatz, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “These federal funds will help us expand our veterans cemeteries so we can continue to honor their legacies.”

The Maui Veterans Cemetery will receive a grant of over $1 million to fund construction of 640 columbarium niches and a memorial wall as well as supporting infrastructure such as irrigation and landscaping.

The VA Veterans Cemetery Grants Program is designed to complement VA national cemeteries. Since its inception in 1978, the VCGP has awarded grants totaling more than $862 million to establish, expand, improve or operate and maintain 117 state and tribal veterans cemeteries.

These grant-funded cemeteries provided more than 39,000 burials in fiscal year 2019.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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