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Kasnas Governor Observes Memorial Day, Cuts Ribbon for Columbarium Wall Expansion at Fort Dodge

FORT DODGE – Governor Laura Kelly today joined leaders from the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Office (KCVAO) to dedicate the expansion of the columbarium wall at the Kansas Veterans Cemetery at Fort Dodge. The ribbon cutting took place during the cemetery’s annual Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony.

“Whether they served in combat or during peacetime, our veterans represent the very best of America. They deserve to be treated with dignity in life and in death,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The expansion of the columbarium wall will allow servicemembers and their families to have the option of interment on these hallowed grounds for years to come.”

The $642,322 project saw the addition of 160 new cremation niches, bringing the total count to 620. The expansion is projected to meet the cemetery’s needs for an additional 10 years, providing essential capacity to honor the service of veterans.

“This expansion of the columbarium wall ensures a dignified and reverent final resting place for our veterans and their families,” said General Bill Turner, KCVAO Director. “This poignant memorial stands as a testament to their service, ensuring that their legacies endure for generations to come.”

“The additional capacity offered by this expansion is crucial in upholding our mission of honoring our veterans with a final resting place that commemorates their service to our nation,” said Heidi Goff, KCVAO Cemetery Director.

When constructed in 2002, the Kansas Veterans Cemetery at Fort Dodge was the first of four state cemeteries in Kansas. It expanded the existing Soldier’s Home Cemetery, which has been operational since 1890. More than 1,700 veterans and family members are interred at Fort Dodge, and the cemetery serves more than 6,000 area veterans and their eligible family members.

Additional Kansas Veterans Cemeteries at WaKeeney, Winfield, and Fort Riley, in conjunction with National Cemeteries at Leavenworth and Fort Scott, are geographically positioned to serve all eligible veterans who desire to be interred close to home in a location that honors their service. This enables nearby family and friends to continue to pay their respects while allowing local residents to honor their service.

The project was funded through the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program (VCGP) administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Since its inception in 1978, the VCGP has provided more than $1 billion to establish, expand, improve, and maintain 122 state, territorial, and tribal veteran cemeteries.

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