Montana’s senators announce more than $4 million for Missoula veterans’ cemetery
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is giving Montana more than $4 million for a new veterans' cemetery in Missoula, senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today.
The VA today released $4,153,011 in funding for the Western Montana State Veterans' Cemetery, on 23 acres just north of Missoula's Big Sky High School.
The senators said the real credit belongs to Missoula-area veterans, who worked tirelessly for the past six years to get federal funding for the project. Although approved by the VA, the project got tied up in red tape in Washington.
Earlier this year Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, wrote a letter to the Secretary of the Veterans Administration and met personally with him, asking him to clear the project for Montana's veterans.
The VA will now pay 100% of the cost associated with the establishment of the cemetery.
"This is a special event for western Montana veterans," said Joe Foster, administrator of the Montana Veterans Affairs Division. "It's going to be a very special, special place." In April, Foster said the senators' personal effort "was instrumental to energizing the project's approval."
"Today's a great day for Montana's veterans and I extend my sincere appreciation to Senators Baucus and Tester, whose hard work in Washington made this project become a reality. They promised, and today they delivered," said Abe Abramson a Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who added that he appreciated Tester's offer to play taps at the dedication of the cemetery. "I look forward to breaking ground on this well deserved final resting place for Montana's military veterans."
Groundbreaking for the cemetery is expected later this fall.
A news story about the original announcement is available online HERE.