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Hein proposes free burial for spouses of veterans
BY NICOLE DELAWDER • ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 2/1/17
In his State of the County address last Thursday, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein unveiled plans to allow the spouses of county veterans to rest eternally next to their loved one in the county’s veterans cemetery.
“Just like many in this deeply patriotic county, I believe that we have a sacred obligation to honor and assist all those who have served our great nation, and every day, in big ways and small, our team works to live up to the lofty examples our veterans have all set for us,” Hein said in Thursday’s address.
The Ulster County Veterans Cemetery was authorized in 2008 by the county legislature. At the time, the county would pay for the burial of veterans’ spouses if the family covered the cost.
“We have quietly transformed the Ulster County Veterans Cemetery into a place now worthy of the great heroes who call it their final resting place,” Hein continued. “We know in our hearts that all members of our military families sacrifice so much, and we will now pay for any spouse who wishes to join their loved one there and does not have the means – because whether it is our freedoms or our future, the truth is we owe our veterans everything.”
According to officials, the county executive will be submitting a resolution to the Ulster County Legislature over the next month that will propose this policy change. The 2017 county budget currently includes approximately $8,000 for burial services for spouses of veterans.
“Whether it is the monument to our fallen soldiers at the County Office Building or the Patriots Project that has already helped over 56 homeless veterans, we work to simply do what's right,” Hein added. “Whether it is our successful FAVOR program that saves our veterans a few dollars when they shop or our efforts to secure all the property tax assistance that our veterans have earned and earned again, we work relentlessly to help repay what we know full well is an un-payable debt.”
Ulster County, in partnership with the New Paltz Rural Cemetery, maintains the Veterans Cemetery, located at 81 Plains Road in New Paltz. A veteran and Ulster County resident is eligible for a burial and grave marker at no expense, upon request by the next of kin. The veteran must have served in armed forces of the U.S. or National Guard, received no less than a general discharge and been a resident of Ulster County. Plots are assigned upon the death of the veteran or veteran's spouse. At that time, the adjacent plot can be reserved for the surviving spouse. For service details, visit ulstercountyny.gov.