Commissioner De La Cruz initiated the program that allows Bernalillo County to assist with providing burials to indigent veterans at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. The new Forgotten Heroes Burial Program is a joint effort by Bernalillo County, the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, and the Missing in America Project, a non-profit organization that attempts to locate unclaimed cremated remains of veterans for proper military burial with full military honors. A memorial service interring the remains of the first 13 unclaimed veterans in New Mexico was held at the Santa Fe National Cemetery in June 2010. The Forgotten Heroes Burial Program is the first of its kind in the nation.
“Every veteran deserves a proper and honorable military burial,” says Commissioner De La Cruz. “Bernalillo County has had an indigent burial program in place for many years but now, with the help of New Mexico Department of Veterans Services and the Missing in America Project, the county and these partners have created a process whereby this can occur and the remains of our veterans will no longer sit unclaimed, unrecognized and forgotten as what happened in the past. It is our hope that this program will be mimicked in other Counties across America to the benefit of veterans who do not have family to claim their remains.”