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OC Vets set sights on So Cal State Veterans Cemetery
Since 1999, a growing number of veterans and other supporters have dreamed of locating a veteran’s cemetery and memorial on a portion of the closed Marine Corps Air Station El Toro (MCAS El Toro). The veterans’ cemetery would serve as a permanent remembrance of all veterans who have fought and died defending the United States.
OC Vets set sights on So Cal State Veterans Cemetery. The group is finally seeing some signs of significant progress over the past year. The Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, as the assemblage of cemetery supporters is now known, reports achievement of the following milestones, according to foundation chair Bill Cook of Mission Viejo.
In January 2014, then Assembly Member Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-CA65), and Chair of the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs, introduced Assembly Bill 1453 that would direct the California Department of Veterans Affairs (Cal-Vet) to apply to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs State Cemetery Grant Program to receive funding for the construction of a Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Orange County.
To further the effort for a Southern California State Veterans Cemetery, the City Council of Irvine in July 2014 unanimously designated and agreed to convey to the State 125 acres within the Orange County Great Park as the site for the cemetery.
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In September 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1453 into law.
The Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation now awaits Cal-Vet’s grant submission to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is now anticipated to be by July 1. 2016.
Why in Orange County
Marine Corps Air Station El Toro officially closed in 1999. Many Veterans and those who served at El Toro immediately sought a portion of Orange County’s military heritage to be dedicated as a place of eternal honor and rest for those who have loyally and faithfully served our nation. A Veterans Cemetery in Orange County at the old MCAS El Toro is perfectly logical and appropriate. Many of our Veterans were either deployed from this base going to war or returned here after fighting a year at war.
More recently, significant progress has been made. The site has been selected and designated, and the pre-production plans and studies are in process. It is anticipated that very soon application will be made to the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs for a grant of initial phase construction funding and thereafter an official groundbreaking for the Southern California Veterans Cemetery. The VA grant program is very generous and will provide most of the funding needed for our Cemetery. Most, but not all. In anticipation of requirements not addressed by the grant program and to offer compassionate support to Veterans and families, the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation (OCVMPF) was formed as a non-profit 501(c)3, Tax ID #46-5328246.
OCVMPF has been invited to participate in the iheartOC Giving Day Fundraising Event over a 30-hour time period from 6 am on April 27th to noon on April 28th. This presents an opportunity to contribute to the OCVMPF and qualify us for additional matching funds and incentives upon the outcome of this significant community-wide Campaign. To contribute on April 27th, please visit: www.iheartoc.org. To learn more about Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, view our iheartOC OCVMPF profile at: http://bit.ly/OCVMPFprofile.
For the OCVMPF and our future Southern California Veterans Cemetery, we thank you in advance for your steadfast and passionate support. Please use this event to contribute to our cause, and spread the message thru your networks to all of those who have expressed encouragement that now it is the time to step up and participate.
To quote President Lincoln at the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery…….. ““It is altogether fitting and proper that we do this”
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