Delaware Veterans Cemetery Team Earns Top Honors from VA

BEAR – The staff of the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear were recognized Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for their outstanding service to the state’s veterans and their families.

Gov. John Carney joined the Bear team and the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs in accepting the Operational Excellence Award from Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Randy Reeves of the VA’s National Cemetery Administration. The award places the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery among the top five percent of state veterans’ cemeteries in the nation.

“The Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery truly is hallowed ground for those Delawareans who served their country in our armed forces, and for the loved ones who carry on the legacy of their deeds,” said Governor Carney. “I’ve always been extremely proud of the dedicated team that works every day to ensure that this resting place is maintained to the highest standards of excellence, and I congratulate them on earning the recognition they deserve.”

The VA established the Operational Excellence Award program for state and tribal cemeteries in May, 2018 to recognize outstanding service to veterans and their family members in all areas of operations. The Bear cemetery met or exceeded 82 of 90 applicable performance measures for a combined score of 91 percent in the areas of Interment Operations, Grounds Maintenance, and Headstone, Marker, and Niche Cover Operations.

“Cemeteries like the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear are a model of excellence, on par with some of the best national cemeteries in the country,” said Under Secretary Reeves. “The dedication to maintaining this cemetery as a shrine truly commemorates veterans’ service and sacrifice to our nation.”

In 2016, the VA awarded a $3.67 million expansion grant for the Bear cemetery, which provides a final resting place for 45,000 Delaware veterans and their eligible family members. The Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery is administered by the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs.

“The whole team at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear does outstanding work to honor the memory of our state’s veterans, and to support their families in their times of mourning,” said Larence Kirby, executive director of the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs. “Our mission is support those who served, and I can’t think of a better group of individuals who embody that goal.”

For more information on U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, contact Richelle Taylor, Public Affairs Specialist, at or call (202) 632-8011.

LEGISLATIVE ADVISORY: Governor Carney, Lawmakers Expand Access to Medical Marijuana for Delawareans with PTSD

Senate Bill 24, signed this week, will improve access to treatment for Delaware veterans

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney this week signed into law Senate Bill 24, which will expand access to medical marijuana treatment for Delaware veterans, and other Delawareans, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The legislation was sponsored by Senator Margaret Rose Henry, Representative Paul Baumbach, and Representative Helene Keeley, and passed the General Assembly with support from members of both parties. It removes the requirement that a psychiatrist must authorize a patient with PTSD to access medical marijuana – making the process consistent with patients suffering from other debilitating conditions treatable by medical marijuana in Delaware.

“This is a common sense, and compassionate amendment to Delaware’s medical marijuana law that will expand access to treatment for Delaware veterans and others who live every day with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Governor Carney. “Thank you to Senator Henry, Representative Baumbach, Representative Keeley, and all members of the General Assembly for their leadership on this issue.”

Read Governor Carney’s full Legislative Advisory #9, and for all legislative advisories, visit the Governor’s website.

Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs Annual Memorial Day Observances

DOVER – The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs welcomes veterans, their families and the public at large to join in two Memorial Day observances scheduled for the holiday weekend.

As in previous years, the Commission will host ceremonies on separate days at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear and at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, honoring those who lost their lives in the service of their nation.

What: DCVA Memorial Day Observances

Who: Gov. John Carney; Secretary of State Jeff Bullock; DCVA Commissioners; members of the Congressional Delegation; state legislators; local officials; Delaware veterans and their families

When/Where: 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 27
Parade Field Grounds, Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery
2465 Chesapeake City Road, Bear

When/Where: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 30
War Memorial Plaza, Delaware Memorial Bridge
163 Cherry Lane, New Castle


Contact: Larence Kirby, Executive Director
Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs
Department of State

Governor’s Weekly Message: Ending Veteran Homelessness in Delaware

Wilmington, DE – In his weekly message, Governor Markell marks Veterans Day and honors the men and women who have served our nation in uniform by celebrating Delaware’s success in ending veteran homeless through a coordinated statewide initiative announced last year. The Governor recognizes the many stakeholders who helped attain this goal and who remain committed to sustaining this commitment to our veterans in the years to come.

“In 2015, we committed to ending and preventing homelessness among veterans in Delaware,” Governor Markell said. “I said something then that remains true today: Even one homeless veteran is one too many. That’s why this week I was thrilled to announce that – after more than a year’s work with our local, state and federal partners – we have effectively ended veteran homelessness in our state. Thank you to everyone who has made it possible to get our veterans the help they need and deserve. Showing them the same level of commitment they made to our country will help keep Delaware moving forward.”

Every week, the Governor’s office releases a new Weekly Message in video, audio, and transcript form. The message is available on:

By email: Please contact our press team to subscribe to our press list

Transcript of the Governor’s Weekly Message: Ending Veteran Homelessness in Delaware

Delaware Effectively Ends Veteran Homelessness

More than 400 veterans have been permanently housed since January 2015

New Castle, DE – Governor Markell announced on Friday that Delaware has effectively ended veteran homelessness, receiving certification last month from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro and Governor Markell made the announcement Friday at the Delaware Commission of Veterans’ Affairs annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle. Governor Markell committed Delaware to First Lady Michelle Obama’s national Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness during his State of the State address in January 2015. Since that time, Delaware has housed 414 formerly homeless veterans.

“As I said almost two years ago, even one homeless veteran is one too many,” said Governor Markell. “This Veterans Day, as we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, I am proud to say that Delaware has stepped up for our veterans in need. We now have systems in place to ensure that veteran homelessness is a rare occurrence, and is prevented whenever possible. We will remain committed to this effort, and to getting our veterans the help and resources they need and deserve.”

“Every person who has served our nation in uniform deserves a safe, stable place to call home. Today, Delaware has shown ending veteran homelessness is not just aspirational, but achievable,” said HUD Secretary Castro. “I’m proud to congratulate Governor Markell, his dedicated team, and their strong local partners for ensuring permanent housing solutions for the brave men and women who’ve sacrificed so much for our nation.”

“One of the best things we can do to honor our servicemen and women is to take good care of them once they finish their time in our military,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper, a 23-year veteran of the Navy. “Today’s announcement that Delaware has effectively ended veteran homelessness is a wonderful example for the nation of what can be done when local, state and federal partners come together to help our community.”

Gary Dawkins, an Honorably Discharged U.S. Army veteran who became homeless after difficulty finding employment, also attended Friday’s announcement. Dawkins found shelter at Home of the Brave and participated in a Department of Labor workforce training program. He later became eligible for public housing for seniors through the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA).

“The road to overcoming any challenge is persistence, passion, and patience,” Dawkins said. “If you do the right thing, others will see that and follow your example.”

Leadership of all three Delaware counties and mayors in eight towns and cities – Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Seaford, Georgetown, Bridgeville, Blades and Greenwood – committed to Delaware’s initiative to end veteran homelessness. DSHA led the statewide working group since early last year, bringing together provider groups, local officials, county governments, and other partner organizations to coordinate resources on behalf of veterans facing homelessness in Delaware.

Together, the group developed a formal process to share data about veteran homelessness; increased targeting of the most intensive resources to homeless veterans with the greatest need; and improved connections between veteran-specific resources and resources for homelessness prevention and rapid-rehousing. DSHA and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services also set aside state-funded rental assistance vouchers for homeless veterans who did not qualify for federal assistance.

“We were proud to lead this effort and help coordinate services so we can more effectively help veterans who face the prospect of homelessness,” said Anas Ben Addi, Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority. “After volunteering to serve our country, no veteran should be left without a place to turn. We believe the changes that we’ve made will make a real difference in the lives of veterans here in Delaware, and we will continue to refine and improve this effort.”

Partners in Delaware’s statewide initiative to end veteran homelessness included local and county governments; the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs; the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services; the Homeless Planning Council of Delaware; Delaware Continuum of Care; and Supportive Services for Veterans Families providers, including Connections and the Veterans Multi-Service Center.

“On a day when Americans come together to honor the sacrifices of our nation’s veterans, I am so pleased we can mark this occasion with a declaration of progress and support for Delaware veterans deserving our help. The milestone announced in Delaware today is a reminder that federal, state, and local governments can solve large complex problems when they use evidence-based approaches and work together,” said U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald.

“I am proud that VA has partnered with a wide range of organizations to prevent and end veteran homelessness and is providing healthcare, education, job training, and wraparound supportive services to more veterans than ever. To sustain the progress in Delaware and other communities that have achieved this important goal and also encourage continued progress in places that have not yet ended veteran homelessness, ongoing investment is critical. VA will not let up until every veteran has permanent housing.”

The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs hosted Friday’s announcement at its annual Veterans Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park at the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

“The Delaware Commission of Veterans Affairs is proud to have contributed to ending veteran homelessness in Delaware,” said Larence Kirby, Executive Director of the Commission. “Many veterans face housing struggles and when we had a chance to help through federal and state agencies, we jumped at the chance. With the help of these agencies, Delaware now has the teamwork and resources available to ensure that homeless veterans can be set on the path towards permanent housing.”