Chairman Ball Urges Action on Honor Deserving of New York Veterans
Carmel, N.Y. – (07/21/11) – Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson), Chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, held a meeting in Putnam County to get the word out about legislation (S5381A/A1386A) that would create a State Veterans Cemetery in New York. The informational meeting, which was held at the Spain Memorial Cornerstone Park in Carmel, N.Y., was designed to educate the public about the legislation, as well as the United States Veterans Cemetery Grant Program.
To date, the VA program has helped establish, expand and improve 79 veterans cemeteries in 38 states and territories, provided nearly 28,000 burials in 2010 alone. The VA has awarded grants totaling more than $438 million. New York has never participated in this federally-sponsored program, leaving thousands of New York State veterans without access to this earned benefit.
“I am committed to extending the honor of a burial to the men and women who bravely served this country yet are being denied access to this earned benefit,” said Chairman Ball who sponsored and passed the legislation in the New York State Senate. “Tens of thousands of veterans are simply underserved at this point and this cemetery would change that,” added Ball.
In order for New York State to participate in the VA’s Cemetery Grant Program, the Commissioner of the State Veterans Affairs Department must have the legislative authority to complete and submit an application for a cemetery grant. The bill, which passed in the New York State Senate (S5381A/A1386A) on June 21, 2011, would do just that. The legislation still needs to be voted on in the New York State Assembly.
On the local level, The Putnam County legislature has passed two resolutions in support of the project. The first resolution approves for a parcel of land to be donated to the project. The second, accepts responsibility for the perpetual care and maintenance of the cemetery.
“I fully support the process and proposal to locate a Veteran’s Cemetery here in Putnam County. I appreciate the efforts of Senator Ball in working with officials in Putnam County, the State of New York and the U.S. Veteran’s Cemetery Grant Program to accomplish it,” said Putnam County Executive Paul Eldridge.
Furthermore, the NYS Veterans Cemetery Bill (S5381A/A1386A) allows any Senator or Assembly member the opportunity to submit an application for the federally-sponsored grant, thereby supporting the VA’s national goal of providing a burial option within 75 miles of 90 percent of all veterans in New York State.
“The veterans of Putnam County would be honored to have a veterans cemetery in our community. It would be a plus to the families to be able to visit their departed veterans close to home and a fitting tribute to all our vets,” said Veterans Director for Putnam County Karl Rohde.
“There could not be a more honorable project than to give a resting place to our underserved veterans in New York State. I am very pleased that my former colleagues are supporting our veterans. Senator Ball has done a profound job in seeking support for this endeavor,” said Senator Ball’s Director of Government and Veterans Affairs, MaryEllen Odell.
For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Ali Skinner: (845) 200-9716.