The state's veterans cemetery near Fort Bragg is a step closer to a major upgrade.
On Sunday night, Governor Pat McCrory announced private donations have more than matched state funds for the project.
The fundraising effort will make it possible to enclose the committal shelter at the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery in Spring Lake. The shelter is currently open-air, which means the weather can be uncomfortable and distracting for families burying their loved ones.
"Whenever you stop and think about it, this is the last full measure of devotion that our veterans' families have to show toward their loved ones," commented Rev. Archie Barringer. "It will be enclosed with glass, so you can see the funeral detail from the outside. It'll be air conditioned, heated, tile flooring and all the other enhancements that we need for families to say goodbye to their loved ones."
Barringer and George Breece chair a group called the Friends of the Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery. So far they have raised a little more than $300,000. Their goal is $350,000 so the shelter can be properly furnished inside.
Senator Wesley Meredith (R - Cumberland) sponsored the bill that resulted in $125,000 going toward the project.
The state's two other veterans cemeteries already have enclosed committal structures.
"I've thought many times that every day is Veterans Day out here," Barringer said. "As I look around and look at these graves I think all gave some but some gave all. Certainly the love for our country is best reflected by the love that we show for our veterans."
Donations can be made through the Cumberland Community Foundation at www.cumberlandcf.org, or at P.O. Box 2345, Fayetteville, NC 28302. Questions or other donation options can be discussed at 910-759-3007.
Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon.More>>