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Bernalillo County’s Forgotten Heroes Burial Program Receives National Award

10:02 AM

American Flag Bernalillo CountyBernalillo County’s Forgotten Heroes Burial Program has received a 2014 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties.

Since 2010, Bernalillo County, the New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Santa Fe National Cemetery and the rest of the New Mexico counties have worked together to arrange honorable dispositions of unclaimed/indigent deceased veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Forgotten Heroes Burial Program is the first program in the nation featuring such a partnership between state and local governments and other agencies to care for deceased unclaimed/indigent veterans.

“These veterans deserve respect for their sacrifices during the time they spent serving our country,” says Commission Vice Chair Art De La Cruz. “This program ensures that those sacrifices will be recognized with honor and dignity. Bernalillo County is proud to be leading the way with programs like the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program and will continue to develop these types of services in the future.”

Staff members of the Bernalillo County Procurement and Business Services Department administer the program.

“The work by Bernalillo County in developing the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program has enabled our partnership to take this innovative program statewide,” says New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Timothy Hale. “Veterans will never be alone at the end. They are now all guaranteed the ‘Final Salute’ befitting a man or woman who has served our country.”

In the event no family members come forward to claim the body of a veteran upon death, the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program arranges for a memorial service at the Santa Fe National Cemetery. Annually since 2010, a special ceremony has been held for these honored veterans that includes full military honors.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners acknowledged the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program for receiving this prestigious award.

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