Richard Moncrief and Bert Eldridge (McBride Veteran Cemetery board) accept a check for $4,000 from New Mexico Elks Association Veteran’s Service committee presented by Ralph Brown, Roswell Elks Charity Golf Chairperson, on Monday. (Courtesy Photo)
Though the Gen. Douglas L. McBride-Roswell Veterans’ Cemetery was not selected in the first round of the state’s new plan to designate rural national veterans’ cemeteries, Roswell’s plans are still moving forward.
Work continues at the site, located adjacent to South Park Cemetery. City workers began installing an irrigation system last week and a grand opening is planned for July 4.
And, the state will still consider Roswell’s cemetery in future rounds for the federal designation status and funding, according to New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Tim Hale.
“Nobody is out of the running,” Hale said. “The bottom line is, we’re trying to serve the maximum number of veterans in this initial round and want to continue moving forward.”
The Roswell cemetery board met Wednesday.
A generous local donor has offered to pay funeral expenses for any veteran’s family that cannot afford the cost of a burial, according to board member Jane Batson.
The graves of veterans buried in the cemetery will be marked with a standard Veterans’ Administration headstone. Full military honors will be provided by the Roswell Veterans’ Honor Guard upon request by the family.
There is no cost for the burial site in the cemetery, Batson said.
Space will also be given for burial of the spouse in the veteran’s plot or cremains location.
Burial benefits available for veterans buried in a private cemetery include a government headstone, marker or medallion, a burial flag and a presidential memorial certificate, at no cost to the family.
For non-service connected deaths, the VA will pay up to $700 for burial and funeral expenses, if the veteran is properly hospitalized by the VA at the time of death, or $300 if not properly hospitalized. The VA will also pay $700 for plot interment allowance, if not buried in a national cemetery.
Families can apply for burial allowances by filling out VA form 21-530, the application for burial benefits. It requires the attachment of a copy of the veteran’s military discharge document, death certificate, and funeral and burial bills that have been paid in full.
Anderson-Bethany Funeral Home and Crematory is also ready to work with families who want to have cremains of veterans buried on July 4 as part of the cemetery opening, Batson said.
Families need to contact the funeral home at 622-5888 to complete a process, starting with providing a copy of the Discharge Document Form 214 for the deceased veteran.
The cost to bury veteran cremains in the cemetery July 4 will be at no cost, Batson said.
The cemetery committee is still seeking donations to pay for components of the work that needs to be done prior to the opening. Tax-deductible donations can be made to Embrace Inc. at P.O. Box 4425, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202.