California Central Coast Veterans Cemetery to receive national honor for quality

SEASIDE – The Central California Coast Veterans Cemetery (CCCVC) in Seaside has been selected to receive the prestigious Organizational Excellence Award from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA).

The cemetery, which opened in 2016, is operated by the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet). It was jointly developed and constructed by the USDVA, CalVet, and local partners.

L-R, State Senator Bill Monning, CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani MD, CCCVC Manager Erica Chaney and Glenn Powers of the National Cemetery Administration at ceremony, October 9, 2019
L-R, State Senator Bill Monning, CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani MD, CCCVC Manager Erica Chaney and Glenn Powers of the National Cemetery Administration at ceremony, October 9, 2019

Glenn Powers, of the National Cemetery Administration, will present the award to CCCVC officials during a ceremony on Wednesday, October 9, at the cemetery, at 2900 Parker Flats Road in Seaside. The event begins at 9 a.m., speakers will include State Senator Bill Monning, D-17th District, and CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani MD.

“This beautiful, serene final resting place is a testament to what the USDVA, CalVet and a committed group of local supporters can do for our veterans,” CalVet Secretary Imbasciani said, upon learning of the honor. “Given that this cemetery only opened in October, 2016, we are gratified and proud that it has earned recognition for its quality by the USDVA in such a short amount of time.”

The USDVA created the Organizational Excellence Award for state and tribal cemeteries in May 2018. It recognizes outstanding service to veterans and their family members in all areas of operations. Interment operations, grounds maintenance, and headstone, marker, and niche cover operations are among the 90 applicable measures used.

As of August 2019, the CCCVC had approved more than 3,400 eligibility applications, and more than 1,300 veterans and their dependents are interred there. Interment is free to eligible veterans. Fees apply to eligible dependents. CalVet has approved interments for veterans of nearly every military conflict from the Spanish-American War to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The cemetery serves more than 100,000 veterans and their family members in Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Santa Clara counties but does not exclude any veteran.

The first phase accommodates cremated remains only. With 15 columbaria providing roughly 5,000 niches. The $9.4 million cost of the first phase included $6.8 million from the USDVA, $2 million from the state of California, and $615,000 in local funding.

In September, the USDVA awarded the cemetery a $6.42 million grant that, along with other funding sources, will enable the cemetery to begin building Phase II. It will include 1,912 pre-placed crypts, 1,079 in-ground sites for cremains, and additional memorial wall plaques.

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