Brewster, N.Y. – (3/27/13) – After years of tireless work, Senator Greg Ball (R,C,I-Patterson) Chairman of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee today announced that he has successfully passed his Veterans’ Cemetery Bill in the 2013-2014 New York State Budget, which will create a program to establish the first New York State Veterans’ Cemetery.
“Words cannot describe how excited I am that this dream is finally becoming a reality. By creating this program our state is showing its commitment to extending the honor of a burial to the men and women who bravely served this country,” said Senator Ball. “Tens of thousands of veterans are simply underserved at this point and this legislation will now change that.”
“The men and women who serve our country in the armed forces are true heroes,” Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Dean G. Skelos said. “I applaud Senator Ball for his efforts to ensure that they can be laid to rest in a place of honor and respect. Our veterans deserve nothing less.”
The program, overseen and managed by the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs, will create the first New York State veterans cemetery, and provide a program for its operation, maintenance and perpetual care. To support the cemetery, this bill will also establish a tax check off box on state tax returns, and a Veterans Remembrance and Cemetery Maintenance and Operation Fund.
The VA program has helped establish, expand and improve veterans cemeteries in 42 states and territories and 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 want to thank Senator Ball for his tireless efforts to finally establish this New York State Veterans’ Cemetery program. This program will allow us to build a state veterans’ cemetery close to home and allow families easier access to visit their departed veterans. This is a very fitting tribute to all veterans statewide,” said Neil Gross, Jr. Vice Commander of the Military Order of Purple Hearts Chapter 21 in Cortlandt N.Y.
“This is the ultimate tribute to those that have served our nation. Funerals can be very expensive, with an average cost running almost $15,000. This program promises that our heroes will have a proper burial, and close to home,” said Eugene Parotta, chairman of Ball’s Veterans Advisory Council and two time Purple Heart recipient. “Senator Ball has once again delivered for veterans and I salute him for his work on our behalf.”
While the legislation creates a program for statewide veterans’ cemeteries, locations of the burial grounds are yet to be determined. In 2011, the Putnam County Legislature did pass a resolution in support of the project and approved a parcel of land to be donated to the project.
For more information, please contact Joe Bachmeier at (845) 200 9716.