BOISE, Idaho (CBS2) — The Idaho State Veterans Cemetery is looking to expand as Idaho grows.
“Idaho is continuing to grow and in order to meet that growth we want to ensure that we have an uninterrupted operation to continue to provide burial services for veterans and their families,” said James Earp, the Bureau Chief of Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
The expansion plans include:
Urn Interment Expansion
Upper Plaza Renovation
Scatter Memorial Area Installation
The scatter memorial is special.
“An important feature about that particular construction will allow for the markers to be elevated to a point where they're similar to our columbarium walls which will allow for the ease of visitation year-round. It's not affected by things like snow or any other conditions that will limit their ability to visit their site,” Earp said.
“The idea of the memorial was very similar to in design as was established at for the Vietnam War Memorial,” Earp said. “It takes advantage of the terrain and allows the families to involve themselves in the ability to go down into this particular memorial to visit their loved ones' gravesites.”
As for plans to expand existing space, Earp says they have the room to do so.
“We have 77 acres, only a small portion of that, probably about 25 Acres, is developed for the cemetery right now,” Earp said.
Veterans like Henry 'Hank' Clark who volunteers at the cemetery looks forward to expansion if approved.
"It's very special," Clark said. "I mean, it's a lot to all of us. Not even just veterans, but all people out here who have families that come out here. They just love the place."
Clark says volunteering and spending time at the cemetery helped him heal from PTSD.
"I'm a Vietnam veteran. I came back with PTSD and they taught me 50 years to try and figure out what my problems were," Clark said. "And I've been through counseling, I've been through a lot of things. But the cemetery, working with the families and working with the staff out here is the best therapy person with PTSD ever had."
Funding is provided through federal grants. The Idaho Legislature will vote whether or not to approve this appropriation.
Once approved, construction plans will move forward.