The Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk has been awarded a $3.3 million federal grant for improvements that will reduce interment costs for the families of thousands of veterans.
The money provided by the Veterans Affairs Department will be used to buy and install 4,090 burial crypts for future use and make related improvements. The VA also approved a $1.6 million grant for 1,610 crypts at the Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia.
Families or survivors of deceased veterans will save $400 or more that they've had to spend to cover the cost of the concrete vaults, said Dan Kemano, who oversees the state cemeteries. The grants bring the cemeteries into parity with Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin, where a federal grant pays for the vaults.
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, who announced the grants Tuesday, said: "Virginia has a long history of supporting our veterans and military families, and these grants support our efforts to continue to honor our military men and women. We owe this obligation to those who have served."
When the cemeteries need more vaults, they are eligible for new funding, Kemano said. In Suffolk, the cemetery -- which has developed 26 of its 74 acres -- holds the remains of about 4,000 people.
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said the VA "is committed to helping state and tribal veterans cemeteries meet national shrine standards and honor veterans."