Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
VA Awards $8.5 Million for Kentucky Veterans Cemetery in Radcliff
FRANKFORT, Ky. – To help make sure Kentucky veterans have a final resting place that honors their service, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today awarded a grant of more than $8.5 million to the state to establish the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central in Radcliff, adjacent to Fort Knox.
“State veterans cemeteries offer additional burial options to veterans and their families,” said the Honorable R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “Kentucky’s commitment to operate the cemetery and ensure perpetual care should be heartening to everyone who recognizes the role of veterans in safeguarding our freedoms.”
During a ceremony in Frankfort, William F. Tuerk, VA Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, presented a symbolic check for $8,521,865 to Gov. Ernie Fletcher covering the cost of the facility.
The grant will pay 100 percent of the allowable costs of building the 99-acre cemetery in the central part of the state. In its initial 31-acre development, the cemetery will provide more than 3,400 casket gravesites, 500 in-ground cremation burial sites and 1,200 columbarium niches for cremated remains.
“Kentucky’s veterans deserve the utmost honor and respect for their service and sacrifice,” said Governor Fletcher. “We sincerely appreciate this grant – a grant that will help ensure that our veterans are honored now and forever.”
The grant also provides for cemetery infrastructure, including administration and maintenance buildings, an assembly area and a committal service shelter. Design costs and equipment to operate the cemetery are also funded.
The new state cemetery will be in addition to the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery West, in Hopkinsville, dedicated in 2004 and also built with VA grant funds.
VA's State Cemetery Grants Program is designed to complement VA’s 122 national cemeteries across the country. The grants have helped establish, expand or improve 69 state veterans cemeteries in 36 states and Guam, which provided more than 20,000 burials in fiscal year 2005. Since the program began in 1980, VA has awarded 150 grants totaling more than $258 million.
“Receiving this money is a wonderful way to honor our veterans who have spent their lives supporting and serving the military,” said Sen. Elizabeth Tori (R-Radcliff). “I speak for the thousands of surviving families in saying ‘thank you.’”
“We wouldn’t have this cemetery if some dedicated individuals in the Ft. Knox community had not worked tirelessly to get the areas of excess training land at Ft. Knox transferred to the state – especially Retired Sgt. Major Don Devine,” said Rep. Mike Weaver (D-Elizabethtown). “’Not for their selves, but for their country.’ That describes our veterans who fought in war, and that’s what veterans’ cemeteries are all about.”
Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the VA Web site on the Internet at http://www.cem.va.gov or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at 1-800-827-1000.
Information about Kentucky state veterans cemeteries can be obtained from David Worley, manager, Kentucky State Veterans Cemeteries, Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (502) 564-9281.