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Date Posted: 03:43:08 02/28/10 Sun
I wanted to let the Sampson Navy Veterans and the other military service veterans that the cemetery is moving along as planned on the hospital site south of the old base. There were (11) buildings still standing on the site and (6) were demolished, of the (5) that were left, (2) will be renovated; the guard shack at the entrance will be used as a grave locator site and information booth.
The second building to be renovated will be the 3 bay fire house, this building will house the offices, restrooms on both floors, changing rooms for the honor guards and the interment service area on the main floor, also a elevator will be installed in the old fire hose drying tower. The other (3) buildings, a (4) cell brig, a steam plant and a small laundry building behind the steam plant were boarded up for safety reasons and in the future will also be renovated.
New York State awarded grants totaling $3.9 million dollars for this place of honor for our deceased veterans and their spouses. Twenty eight acres were grubbed (cleared) and the original main flag pole area just south of the fire house was located and the New York State VFW Aux. and men donated over $14,000 for a new flag pole and memorial walk area.
About (50) yards south of the main flag pole will be the out side service area, to be used in the summer months or if two services are being conducted at the same time. The main gate area will have a new four lane drives in to cemetery, two lanes coming in, and two lanes going out, in the middle of the two lanes will be a monument showing the emblems of each of the five branches of the services, along with the Merchant Marine of WWII. There will be an avenue of flags, including the fifty states.
Our goal now is to bury our first veteran in the first week of Nov. of 2010; the committee wants a soft opening with local veterans groups and reserve units, National Guard units, local dignitaries, ROTC Students etc. We have around (25) cremations ready to be inured at Sampson Veterans Cemetery now. In May of 2011 we are planning our main opening of the Cemetery; this will be with dignitaries from Washington, Military leaders from Washington, persons from the VA National Cemeteries and as many of the old salts who trained at Sampson and their families and the Air Force Veterans who trained at Sampson in the early 50tes.
The Bath National Cemetery is about 60 miles from Sampson, will be closing in about 4-5 years, Sampson will be an ideal spot for a National Cemetery, and we have 162 acres and access to hundreds more, which is owned by the NYS Parks service. We have the support of the veterans from around 20 counties in central NY. We can go to Rochester, north towards Syracuse and Watertown, East towards Utica, South in to Binghamton, Ithaca and the Penn. boarder.
Veterans, this program has been going on for eight years, when Steve Bull got Sate Senator Nozzle involved in this project. What we are asking the Navy veterans of this site is for small, big, nickels and dimes and any kind of donation towards the Sampson cemetery. We have the money to build the first 10 year phase of the cemetery, and until the VA comes to get this for a National Cemetery, the nonprofit committee will have to run this Cemetery on Donations.
We will outsource the digging for the opening and closing of the graves, we will outsource the lawn maintenance and up keep of the graves sites, and snow plowing. We have to hire a full time cemetery Manager, at least 2 secretaries and a person to make sure the out sourcing work is done right. Also the cost of heating, water, lights, building upkeep etc... The $3.9 million we have now is for the building of the cemetery, we cannot use it for operating the cemetery. We are in touch with Congressman Acuri from Central N.Y. and trying to get stimulus funds or appropriation funds. Bottom line is we need donations, little, small medium or large to get the cemetery running on its own after it’s built. We are asking the Navy veterans on this site for help.
The Sampson Naval Training site of the forties is a historical site and a proud site; also over 2,000 sailors that were trained at Sampson were killed in WWII. We are waiting for the NY State Assembly to vote to rename RTE 96A to the Sampson Veterans Memorial Highway, the State Senate has already approved the name change, along with Seneca County.
We want every veteran to know that we have a place for the Veteran and his spouse to rest in Honor and dignity. If the veterans or their families have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at my home anytime.
Rick Connors (315-568-4155)
If any of the veterans or their family’s wish to make a donation to the cemetery, mail it to Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery Association PO Box 243 Seneca Falls, N.Y. 13148
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