WASHINGTON – Michael Carvajal seemed optimistic as he highlighted the steps the Federal Bureau of Prisons has taken to protect inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The bureau was one of the first agencies to offer COVID testing and vaccinations.… Approximately 80% of our staff and 70% of our inmates have been fully vaccinated and we continue to increase those rates,” Carvajal, the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, told a Feb. 3 House Judiciary Committee hearing.
“The bureau has transferred more than 37,000 inmates to community custody, after review of medically vulnerable inmates based on assessments,” he added.
But lawmakers and other critics insist that federal prison inmates were less protected from COVID-19 than the general public, more died than has been made public, and incarcerated people remain exposed to greater health risks than the prisons bureau will acknowledge.
“There’ve been at least 300 people who have died while in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons,” Corene Kendrick, deputy director of the ACLU National Prison Project, told Capital News Service. “Incarcerated people, generally, are three times more likely to die of COVID-19 than people in the general population.”
According to the prison bureau’s COVID website, 4,672 federal inmates and 1,990 BOP staff have confirmed positive test results for the virus nationwide. The website said 285 inmates and seven staff members have died from COVID so far.
Of the 285 inmate deaths, 11 occurred while on home confinement, according to the bureau. The inmate totals listed do not include inmates participating in the Federal Location Monitoring program, inmates supervised under the United States Probation Office, or those being held in privately-managed prisons or state facilities or jails.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, asked Carvajal during the congressional hearing what to do about preventing deaths in federal prisons.
“We have been in lockstep with the CDC from day one,” Carvajal said. “That is why we appreciate the ability under the CARES Act to transfer people out. We were able to lower our population. We are following CDC guidance. We do everything in collaboration with them.”
While data on the medical isolation rate, facility vaccination rate, and community transmission rate are all available on the prison bureau’s website, advocates, including Kendrick and Joshua Manson, a researcher with the UCLA Law COVID Behind Bars data project, argue that most of the information on how many people have been infected with, or died of, the virus is inaccurate.
“They’re not being fully transparent,” Manson told Capital News Service. “They’re sort of just asking the public to trust them when they’ve really given the public no reason to trust them. There have been enormous numbers of people who’ve been infected in the Bureau of Prisons’ custody…but we know that the actual number is considerably higher than that.”
When asked about criticisms of its data and policies, a prison bureau spokesperson referred CNS to the agency’s website.
Carvajal, a Trump administration appointee, announced his resignation in January. He is staying on until he is replaced.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, has been a vocal critic of Carvajal’s tenure.
“For years, the Bureau of Prisons has been plagued by corruption, chronic understaffing, and mismanagement,” the senator said in January. “In the nearly two years since Director Carvajal was handpicked by then-Attorney General Bill Barr, he has failed to address the mounting crises in our nation’s federal prison system, including failing to fully implement the landmark First Step Act.
His resignation is an opportunity for new, reform-minded leadership at the Bureau of Prisons.”
In April 2021, Durbin noted that “at times, the infection rate for the federal prison population has been nearly six times higher than in the community at large. At that time, he said, 230 inmates had died of COVID – “nearly all of whom had preexisting conditions that made them particularly and obviously vulnerable.”
“Several were within months of being released,” Durbin said. “And 55 died after their request for compassionate release was denied or while their request was pending.”
Durbin and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, have introduced legislation aimed at ensuring that the most vulnerable inmates, particularly older prisoners, can be eligible for compassionate release or moved to home confinement to complete their sentences.
“In the middle of a pandemic the federal government ought to be doing everything it can to protect the inmates in its care,” Grassley said.
Both Manson and Kendrick spotlighted what they said were inconsistencies in cumulative COVID-19 case numbers in the prison bureau’s records.
“One of the things that they do is the cumulative counts of COVID-19 infections sometimes goes down…BOP officials finally admitted that what they were doing was as people were getting discharged from BOP custody, they would then remove that person from the total count of infected people,” Kendrick said.
Additionally, Manson urged caution on trusting the prison bureau’s numbers on vaccinated individuals inside correctional facilities.
Manson said the bureau’s website has a category for “fully vaccinated” inmates, but that website does note that the numbers reported don’t include the number of people who have been given a booster.”
“Now, I don’t really think that you can call someone fully inoculated right now if they haven’t received the booster,” he said.
The prisons bureau also is not doing enough to ensure that its own employees are properly masked and vaccinated, according to critics and inmates’ family members.
Prison bureau employees who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated are required to comply with CDC and agency guidance, including, according to the agency, “wearing masks regardless of the transmission rate in a given area, physical distancing, regular testing and adhering to applicable travel restrictions.”
UCLA’s Behind Bars Prison Project also noted a dramatic uptick in the presence of COVID infections in December and January with the Omicron surge. For the first time, more than 10,000 active COVID cases were reported in January among the 150,000 inmates in the prison bureau’s 120 facilities, the project said.
The UCLA project also gives the Federal Bureau of Prisons an “F” for its data collection methods.
Neela, who asked that her last name not be used in order to protect the identity of her husband, who is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution El Reno in Oklahoma, told CNS prison guards were one of the reasons the virus spread and returned in that facility.
“I don’t think they’re doing their part as far as the guards are concerned because we don’t have contact visits right now, it’s all through like a plexiglass,” she said. “The only way these people are getting COVID is through guards.”
“And I’ve gotten in there and I’ve seen a guard could care less about COVID,” Neela said. “I don’t know how many guards are coming into work and have COVID. But I know every time I go, they’re not wearing their masks. Is that the reason? I don’t know. But, I don’t think that’s helping the situation.”
Kendrick said advocates have also been pushing for less overcrowding and better hygiene practices. She said cleanliness is not often given priority inside federal facilities.
“You’re having them sit in cells for two to four days at a time and then allowing them 20 minutes to call their loved ones, take a shower, and get on the email, do whatever, and of course, the priority for these guys is talking to their loved ones because they’re concerned,” Neela said.
“So now you’re cutting their time to clean themselves, and then you’re not giving them the necessary tools to do that,” she said. “I mean, how do you expect people not to get sick if you’re not giving them soap or hand sanitizer?”
Vaccine education has also been put on the back burner inside prisons, according to Neela. She revealed that people jailed at El Reno were encouraged to take vaccinations by offering an optimistic picture of what the facility would look like after the majority of the population was vaccinated.
“…They were kind of bribing the inmates, they weren’t really educating them on why. They just told them, ‘if we can get a facility to 98%, then we can go back to everything being open, not having constant lockdown’ and things of that nature,” she said. “I do have friends that have loved ones at other facilities, and I’ve heard the opposite. So I do think it depends on the facility, who’s running the facility.”
The Prison Policy Initiative has been one of the organizations pushing for more vaccine education inside federal prisons, such as bringing in family members and community leaders.
“If you consider that incarcerated people have a long history of insufficient medical treatment and even medical neglect and abuse at the hands of the very same people who are not trying to vaccinate them, you can understand why it’s important to bring in people…to help convince them to take the vaccine,” said Wanda Bertram, a communications strategist for the Prison Policy Initiative.
Bertram also suggested that compassionate release and home confinement during the pandemic will help slow the spread of COVID-19.
“A woman wrote in to our website yesterday and told us that her husband was supposed to be released to home confinement, and checked off the boxes that the (prison bureau) had laid out for people to be released to home confinement,” Bertram said. “But, he was not actually released under that program, and he got sent to a halfway house and the halfway house is full of COVID.”
The Justice Department in December gave the Federal Bureau of Prisons the discretion to allow formerly incarcerated individuals to remain in home confinement even as the pandemic eases. The action reverses a Trump administration policy that directed the bureau to return those who were allowed to remain in home confinement to correctional facilities if they still had time to serve.
By CHRIS BARYLICK and MARGARET ATTRIDGE
Capital News Service
Celebrate smart, safe & sober this July 4 holiday weekend
Independence Day traditions include backyard barbecues, festivals, family gatherings and fireworks. To keep all those living, working, visiting and traveling through Virginia safe during the extended holiday weekend, the Virginia State Police is encouraging Virginians to play it smart and plan ahead to ensure everyone on the road is safe and sober.
“Summer days are filled with celebrations, vacations, outdoor festivals and backyard cookouts, but no matter where your plans take you, please make safety your priority,” said Colonel Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “With fatal traffic crashes on pace this year to mimic last year’s record number, I urge all Virginians to buckle up, eliminate distractions and never drive buzzed, drunk or under the influence. Together we can make this Independence Day the safest on record!”
If planning to drink alcohol at a July 4 function, plan ahead and arrange a designated driver, use a rideshare service or taxi, or utilize public transportation to be certain you get home safely. Party hosts are encouraged to serve non-alcoholic beverage options, and to help prevent any guests from drinking and driving home from their event.
As part of its ongoing efforts to increase safety and reduce traffic fatalities on Virginia’s highways during the coming holiday weekend, Virginia State Police will increase patrols from 12:01 a.m. Friday (July 1, 2022) through midnight Monday (July 4, 2022) as part of the Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.). Operation C.A.R.E. is a state-sponsored, national program intended to reduce crashes, fatalities and injuries due to impaired driving, speed and failing to wear a seat belt.
During last year’s four-day Independence Day Operation C.A.R.E initiative, there were 12 traffic deaths on Virginia highways. Virginia troopers arrested 61 drivers operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, cited 4,025 speeders and 1,434 reckless drivers, and issued 510 citations to individuals for failing to obey the law and buckle up. Troopers also assisted 1,550 disabled/stranded motorists.
With increased holiday patrols, Virginia State Police also reminds drivers of Virginia’s “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped alongside the road. If unable to move over, then drivers are required to cautiously pass the emergency vehicle. The law also applies to workers in vehicles equipped with amber lights.
Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area announces new podcast, “Piedmont Crossroads”
The Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area Association (VPHA) is pleased to announce a new podcast titled “Piedmont Crossroads, The Path to Preservation” covering preservation issues and historic resources in our state-designated Heritage Area that deserve a deeper look. Commentators will address these issues one at a time, and will engage local experts to help the public understand the history and importance of each topic.
Each podcast episode will examine a historic resource that is threatened or may need more attention from the public. They will also address successful preservation efforts that have a positive story to tell. Some issues have been covered at length in the media while others may be little known by the public. Listeners will learn fascinating history, and often about the encroachment of modern development, and the conflicts that result. Discussions will also cover steps being taken to protect these important historic resources and how the public can help support their preservation.
The first episode will explore the history of the “Aldie Assemblage” in the historic village of Aldie, VA, and why those endangered properties should be protected. It will be released on the VPHA website at www.piedmontheritage.org and through all major streaming platforms on Thursday, June 16th.
The mission of the Virginia Piedmont Area Association is Preservation through Education—to educate about the history and advocate for the preservation of the extraordinary historic landscape, culture, and scenery in the Northern Virginia Piedmont for future generations to enjoy. For more information, visit www.piedmontheritage.org.
Social Security Board of Trustees: Outlook of combined trust funds improves
The Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASI and DI) Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2035, one year later than projected last year, with 80 percent of benefits payable at that time.
The OASI Trust Fund is projected to become depleted in 2034, one year later than last year’s estimate, with 77 percent of benefits payable at that time. The DI Trust Fund asset reserves are not projected to become depleted during the 75-year projection period.
In the 2022 Annual Report to Congress, the Trustees announced:
The asset reserves of the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds declined by $56 billion in 2021 to a total of $2.852 trillion.
The total annual cost of the program is projected to exceed the total annual income in 2022 and remain higher throughout the 75-year projection period. Total cost began to be higher than total income in 2021. Social Security’s cost has exceeded its non-interest income since 2010.
The year when the combined trust fund reserves are projected to become depleted if Congress does not act before then is 2035 – one year later than last year’s projection. At that time, there would be sufficient income coming in to pay 80 percent of scheduled benefits.
“It is important to strengthen Social Security for future generations. The Trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually,” said Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security. “Social Security will continue to be a vital part of the lives of 66 million beneficiaries and 182 million workers and their families during 2022.”
Other highlights of the Trustees Report include:
· Total income, including interest, to the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to $1.088 trillion in 2021. ($980.6 billion from net payroll tax contributions, $37.6 billion from taxation of benefits, and $70.1 billion in interest)
· Total expenditures from the combined OASI and DI Trust Funds amounted to nearly $1.145 trillion in 2021.
· Social Security paid benefits of $1.133 trillion in the calendar year 2021. There were about 65 million beneficiaries at the end of the calendar year.
· The projected actuarial deficit over the 75-year long-range period is 3.42 percent of taxable payroll – lower than the 3.54 percent projected in last year’s report.
· During 2021, an estimated 179 million people had earnings covered by Social Security and paid payroll taxes.
· The cost of $6.5 billion to administer the Social Security program in 2021 was a very low 0.6 percent of total expenditures.
· The combined Trust Fund asset reserves earned interest at an effective annual rate of 2.5 percent in 2021.
The Board of Trustees usually comprises six members. Four serve by virtue of their positions with the federal government: Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury and Managing Trustee; Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Martin J. Walsh, Secretary of Labor. The two public trustee positions are currently vacant.
View the 2022 Trustees Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/TR/2022/.
Valley Health System welcomes new trustees, board leadership
The Valley Health System Board of Trustees has welcomed three new members, named new officers, and recognized two retiring trustees for their long and dedicated tenure. Changes approved by the Valley Health Corporation at its May meeting took effect June 1.
Joining the now-16-member Board are three professionals who bring varied expertise to their service to Valley Health:
- Jeff Boehm is President of Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. and has a 34-year career in construction and development. A graduate of West Virginia University, he lives in Martinsburg where he has been active in church and community life. He is a board member of the Winchester Medical Center Foundation.
- Julia Connell is Vice President of Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management. She earned degrees from Shepherd University and West Virginia University and was a hospital CFO for 10 years before completing graduate work in financial planning. She serves on the boards of Community Foundation of Northern Shenandoah Valley and Timber Ridge School and is a past President of Winchester Rotary Club.
- Thomas Wise, MD, is a board certified orthopedic surgeon. He received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Wake Forest University, completed internship and residency at University of Minnesota, and moved back to Winchester to join Winchester Orthopaedic Associates in 2000. Wise is a team physician for John Handley High School.
“The skills and perspectives of these three individuals will enrich our discussion around the Board table and make a positive impact on those we serve,” said Mark Nantz, Valley Health President and CEO.
Retiring from the Board are Chairman Joseph F. Silek, Jr., of Front Royal, who has served 18 years on the nonprofit health system’s governing body, and Winchester neurosurgeon Patrick Ireland, MD, who has served for 16 years, most recently as Vice Chairman.
“These gentlemen have volunteered an amazing amount of time and energy to Valley Health during a critical period of system growth and maturation, technological investment, and change within the healthcare industry,” said Nantz. “We are grateful for their contributions and thank them for their dedicated service to the health of our community.”
The new Chair, Harry S. Smith, has been a Valley Health trustee for 11 years and also served 12 years on the Winchester Medical Center Board. A native of Winchester, Smith is currently the Market President of United Bank of Winchester, capping a long financial services career in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. He has served on the boards of a number of human service organizations, on the Winchester City Council for two terms, and on several joint city/county committees. As a member of the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board, Smith interacts with hospital system leaders in a six-state area.
“Harry has deep roots in this community, he knows our organization and the complexities of healthcare, and he understands how the Board can help lead Valley Health to an even brighter future,” said Nantz.
“We all share a love for our community and want to see it thrive,” Smith said. “Healthcare is a vital part of the equation. I am honored to lead this talented, hard working group entrusted to ensure the quality, accessibility and stability of our local nonprofit healthcare delivery system.”
Vice Chairman Thomas T. Gilpin is a retired businessman and lifelong resident of Clarke County. A Valley Health trustee since 2010, Gilpin chairs the investment committee, and sits on the Valley Health Quality and Medical Affairs Committee (QMAC), which oversees the system’s quality, safety, patient satisfaction and performance improvement activities. He previously served on the WMC Board for 11 years.
Steven E. Cluss is the new Secretary of the Board of Trustees. He is a retired business owner who joined the VHS Board in 2013 and is a member of the Valley Health Quality and Medical Affairs Committee. He helped forge Valley Health’s engagement to address addiction, which led to the formation of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. Cluss also served for six years on the WMC board.
The members of the Valley Health System Board of Trustees, effective June 1, 2022:
- Jeff Boehm
- Steven E. Cluss, Secretary
- Julia M. Connell
- James G. Dale, DO
- Chad L. Dansie, MD
- Melody K. Eaton, PhD
- Thomas T. Gilpin, Vice Chair
- Marie S. Imoh
- Katherine Johnson, MD
- Thomas Leslie, DDS
- Mark S. Nantz, VHS President and CEO
- Mary Beth Price
- Clifton L. (Kip) Rutherford
- Harry S. Smith, Chairman
- Chris Turnbull, MD
- Thomas Wise, MD
Valley Health is a nonprofit health system serving a population of more than 500,000 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the Eastern Panhandle and Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, and western Maryland. As a healthcare provider, employer, and community partner, Valley Health is committed to improving the health of the region. The system includes six hospitals, more than 60 medical practices and Urgent Care centers, outpatient rehabilitation and fitness, medical transport, long-term care, and home health. www.valleyhealthlink.com
LFCC President Kim Blosser awarded technology leadership award
LFCC President Kim Blosser’s student-focused and technology-driven leadership style has been recognized by the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council, which recently presented her with the Glo Fiber Enterprise’s Dr. Noftsinger Leadership award. She was presented with the award, given to a leader who has served as a catalyst for positive technology-related activity, during the council’s TechNite22.
“As president of LFCC, Dr. Blosser’s vision is that every student, without exception, will have the resources and support they need to succeed and reach their goals,” noted President Blosser’s nomination. “Meeting the needs of the single parent, foster youth, or first-generation college student is what motivates her to work every day to ensure LFCC is open, welcoming, and supportive of the students who need community college the most…LFCC is seen as a leader in the area for workforce development, and Dr. Blosser and LFCC regularly partner with the Workforce Investment Board, GOVirginia, the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, the Regional Commission, and others to ensure the local business community has the needed workforce.”
Technology has been one of the passions driving Dr. Blosser’s career. Her first college-level job was as an adjunct faculty member at Blue Ridge Community College teaching technology classes to public school teachers who were getting classroom computers for the first time. She then became a full-time IT faculty member, and later the chief information officer, which entailed leading IT planning and budgets, managing strategic IT initiatives and overseeing technology purchases, among her other responsibilities.
As president of LFCC, Dr. Blosser has prioritized giving students the option to learn online – in many cases, students can earn their degree entirely online – has expanded the IT department, and has invested in the technology that allows for students and faculty to have more interaction.
The award was presented by Shentel Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer Elaine Cheng, who is a founding board member of Charlottesville Women in Tech, and who delivered the TechNite22 keynote speech exploring how to engage, recruit and develop women in technology and how that will determine success.
“What an honor to receive this award – and to have it presented by Elaine Cheng, someone everyone in IT, but especially women, can look up to. Shentel has been such an asset to LFCC for so many years. For instance, it was thanks to Shentel’s fiber-optic system that we were first able to offer distance learning classes nearly 30 years ago. Today, the possibilities seem endless.
“Now more than ever, our students rely on technology as they chase their goals. Who would have thought just a few years ago that we would be teaching our students to fly and maintain drones, or that our technology students would have the chance to join the U.S. Cyber Command’s (CYBERCOM) Academic Engagement Network, allowing CYBERCOM to meet future workforce needs as it defends our nation and individuals from cybersecurity threats.”
In addition to Dr. Blosser, LFCC Workforce Solutions and Continuing Education was nominated for the Innovation in Higher Education Award. The nomination cited how LFCC’s IT program pathways allow students to earn stackable credentials as they begin IT careers, and the extensive work done by program leaders in collaboration with area employers to build pathways in the local workforce.
Virginia Department of Veterans Services to host Memorial Day ceremonies across the Commonwealth on May 30
The Virginia War Memorial will host the 2022 Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday, May 30, 2022 at 11 a.m. EDT. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.
The ceremony will be held outdoors in the E. Bruce Heilman Amphitheater on the Memorial grounds, weather permitting. This is the 66th consecutive year that the Virginia War Memorial has conducted this ceremony, which is the annual tribute to all American service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice serving in our Armed Forces.
The keynote speaker for the 2022 Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony will be Virginia Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears. Virginia War Memorial Director Dr. Clay Mountcastle will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
Music will be provided by the US Navy Fleet Forces Command Band and there will be a special tribute to members of Gold Star Families. The ceremony will also be broadcast and livestreamed and feature both live and pre-recorded content including the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day message from Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.
Veteran service organizations and other groups are invited to participate in the laying of memorial wreaths in the Memorial’s Shrine of Memory – 20th Century.
The Virginia War Memorial will be open extended hours on Memorial Day from 9 a.m. to sunset. The Richmond Cadet Alumni Band and Friends will present a free concert of patriotic music on the Memorial grounds at 2:30 p.m. There is no admission charge for any of these events. Parking is also free but will be limited onsite. Members of the public are advised to arrive no later than 10:45 a.m. to be seated for the ceremony. For more information, please go to www.vawarmemorial.org or www.dvs.virginia.gov.
Those not attending the Commonwealth’s Memorial Day Ceremony in person may tune into the live broadcast, which will air on WTVR-TV CBS6.1 and 6.3 or to the livestream available on facebook.com/VirginiaVeteransServices, .facebook.com/VirginiaWarMemorial, and other social media channels to be announced.
Memorial Day Ceremonies will also be held at Virginia’s three state veterans cemeteries:
- Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin. Ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Keynote speaker will be Major General Randal D. Fullhart, (US Air Force, Ret.).
- Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Amelia. Ceremony will begin at 10:00 a.m. EDT. The keynote speaker is State Senator Amanda Chase.
- Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk. Ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. EDT. The keynote speaker is Command Sergeant Major Scott A. Beeson, US Army.
Prior to each ceremony, volunteers will place American flags on all gravesites. For information on these ceremonies, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.
About the Virginia War Memorial
The mission of the Virginia War Memorial is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Inspire Patriotism in All. Dedicated in 1956, the Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and the Global War on Terrorism. The Virginia War Memorial is and will always be the Commonwealth’s tribute to those who served and most especially, to those who died defending our freedoms.
The Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who have served in our military. It is located at 621 South Belvidere Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220 and is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free, except for select events. For more information, please visit www.vawarmemorial.org.
About Virginia’s State Veterans Cemeteries
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) operates state veterans cemeteries in Amelia, Dublin, and Suffolk, which provide a final resting place for Veterans, Guardsmen, Reservists, Military Service members who died while serving on active duty, and their eligible dependents. The Virginia Veterans Cemetery is located in Amelia, the Albert G. Horton, Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk, and the Southwest Virginia Veterans Cemetery in Dublin. All cemeteries accommodate in-ground burial of casketed remains, in-ground inurnment of cremated remains, and above-ground inurnment of cremated remains in a columbarium. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov/cemeteries.
About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with more than 40 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia. DVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans. Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; and provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit www.dvs.virginia.gov.