Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery
The Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery is a 354 acre facility designed to provide an honorable, dignified resting place for West Virginia’s cherished veterans and their closest family members. Throughout its lifetime, the cemetery will accommodate burial space for approximately 60,000 qualified individuals.
Donel C. Kinnard
The cemetery is named after Donel C. Kinnard in recognition of his extraordinary valor and exemplary service to his country, fellow veterans, community and his state. Don completed seven tours of duty in Vietnam and was the most highly decorated veteran in Putnam County. During his retirement, he served as the state commander of the VFW, president of the Hurricane Lions Club and held membership in several military service organizations. Don played an instrumental role in the establishment of the state's 120-bed veterans nursing facility in Clarksburg and served as Chairman of the West Virginia Veterans Council. Before his passing on February 14, 2009, he asked that his final resting place be at the new state veterans cemetery.
To read Don's full biography, please click here.
In 2006, members of various state veterans service organizations requested support from West Virginia’s elected officials in establishing a veterans’ cemetery in Southern West Virginia. At that time, West Virginia was one of only a few states that did not have a state operated veterans’ cemetery, despite having a veteran population of more than 200,000. While there are two National Cemeteries in the northern region, one in Grafton and one in Pruntytown, neither conveniently serves veterans of the southern counties.
In response to this need, Senator Jay Rockefeller with the support of then Governor Joe Manchin, began soliciting grant funding from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for the construction of a veterans cemetery.
Shortly thereafter, a feasibility study was conducted by the West Virginia Veterans Council and a cemetery committee was established. Upon review of several potential sites, including locations in Summersville and Logan, the committee determined that property donated by the DOW Chemical Company in Institute, West Virginia, best met the criteria outlined by the VA grant application. The site included 354 acres of land capable of accommodating approximately 60,000 burial plots.
Once the site was selected, in 2008, Blackwood Associates and LA Group were awarded the bid for an architectural engineering study and preparation of a master plan for the facility. With their findings and final details of the grant application submitted, the state of West Virginia and the Division Veterans Affairs were awarded $14,118,456 by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, in September of 2010.
Just one month later in October, 2010, the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery was held and construction immediately began. BBL Carlton was awarded the construction contract and had the cemetery ready to open less than two years later.
The official dedication of the cemetery was held on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.
Provided at no cost to the veteran:
Grave Site or Niche, Opening and Closing, Concrete Pre-Set Crypt, Headstone / Niche Cover, Perpetual Care, Presidential Memorial Certificate.
Eligibility for Dependents:
Order of death does not determine eligibility for benefits. A spouse or child may pre-decease the veteran. Eligibility is based on the veteran’s service.
Burial of Surviving Spouse:
A veteran’s surviving spouse who married a non-veteran after the veteran’s death is now eligible for burial in the cemetery based on his or her marriage to the eligible veteran. This only applies to deaths of surviving spouses that occur on or after January 1, 2000.
The grave location of your loved one is furnished on the map included in the burial document folder. Additionally, there is a grave locator in the Administration Building to assist visitors who may not know the location of a gravesite.
A temporary grave marker is used to mark the grave following the interment. A permanent grave marker will be furnished free of charge by the federal government without application from the family. Every effort is made to have the grave marker delivered and set within 60 days of interment.
The United States flag is flown over the cemetery every day. The flag is flown at half-staff on the morning of Memorial Day and during interment services. Graves are decorated with small US flags the day before Memorial Day and are removed immediately after the holiday. Flags are not permitted on graves at any other time. It is the responsibility of the Funeral Home to provide flags for burial services.
Immediately after each interment, the grave is filled and leveled. As soon as the headstone / marker is set the site will be seeded. Until growing conditions are favorable and turf has been established, burial areas may be substandard in appearance. Because the soil continues to sink after a burial, a new grave requires repeated renovation. Matters which appear to need immediate corrective action should be brought to the attention of the Cemetery Administrator.
Tree donations for burial and bench areas are accepted (space permitting) if desired by next-of-kin, family or friends. For additional information please contact the Administrative Office.
The State Cemetery will be following Federal guidelines and requirements for eligibility.
Eligibility is as follows, but is not limited to:
• Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty.
• Any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and had a minimum of 24 months of active duty.
• The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran.
• The minor children of an eligible veteran.
For purpose of burial in a national cemetery, a minor child is a child who is unmarried and: Who is under 21 years of age; or,
Who is under 23 years of age and pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved educational institution.
Any state or federal Veterans Affairs office can assist in determining eligibility for burial in a VA national or state veteran’s cemetery.
For more information concerning eligibility click here.
Donel Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery
130 Academy Drive
Dunbar, WV 25064
Larissa Wines, Administrator