In a recent meeting with local American Legion Commanders and other veteran groups, as the general Manager of Calumet Park cemetery, I was shocked when told that not much is being done by local cemeteries and funeral homes for veterans. A follow-up meeting was arranged to discuss putting together a program that does more than pay lip service when honoring veterans. Combining the input from these groups with the needs of individual veterans who were pollled, a new program has been created that is unlike anything seen in any cemetery or funeral home in this area.
Since Memorial Weekend is just around the corner, the Board of Directors of Calumet Park Cemetery is offering a benefit program for all honorably discharged veterans. The only qualifier is that a DD214 or equivalent must be submitted at the time of making arrangements, whether at the time of need or on a preneed basis, showing that the veteran was honorably discharged. If a DD214 cannot be located, a family service counselor at Calumet Park Cemetery will assist you in requesting one from the appropriate military records center.
When a veteran and his family make arrangements before the time of need, a monthly payment program for those items that are not being made free from Calumet Park is available at no interest for up to 60 months. For those who cannot afford to take on any new financial obligations at this time, it is still advised that you at least come in and get your free grave space and register for the free setting of your vet marker at Calumet Park Cemetery.
This program was developed solely in response to the “not-so-veiled” opinion of local veterans groups that nobody cares. It seems that the “big production” that funeral directors and cemeteries, including Calumet Park, make out of arranging to have a flag presented to the family of a deceased veteran at the gravesite, and playing taps, does fall into the category of funeral homes and cemeteries “doing just enough to get by”. Saying “we care” should mean more when you consider that veterans are people who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to “the United States of America for an amount up to and including my life.”
All local funeral homes and cemeteries show proper respect to the families they serve. The program that Calumet Park Cemetery and Funeral Chapel has developed is not meant to demean the efforts of any other cemetery or funeral home. In fact, we encourage all cemeteries and funeral homes in this country to put together a similar program. The program was developed as a means of looking into the eyes of the family of a veteran when they ask us “How much?”, and not have to flinch when we tell them the good news about this program on a bad news day!
Calumet Park is receiving no money from any outside organization for this program, nor funds from any government agency. This decision was made at great sacrrifice in income to the cemetery and is an honest effort to reward the sacrifices made by each and every person who ever wore a uniform for the United States of America. It is because of their sacrifices that we are free to conduct business, and this is Calumet Park’s answer to our veterans who asked, “What are you doing for veterans?”
Grave – free, setting of vet marker including granite backer – free, huge discounts on opening/closing, caskets, vaults and funeral services. Shop and see – full traditional funeral service for honorably discharged veterans is only $3995.
Calumet Park Cemetery is family owned and operated by the same families since 1928. Reprinted from 4/21/10 article published in the chronicle, www.thechroniclenwi.com Visit www.calumetparkcemetery.com for more information about how Calumet Park Cemetery can serve you and your family.