U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Approves The Patterson Foundation Ceremonial Enhancement Area at Sarasota National Cemetery

Posted on July 23, 2011 by Sandra Beckley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation

By Sandra M. Beckely, The Patterson Foundation

Today, we are very excited to share that the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) has accepted The Patterson Foundation's ceremonial enhancement donation for the Sarasota National Cemetery!

We were honored that Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve L. Muro, Rep. Vern Buchanan could join members of The Patterson Foundation, including Designation Committee Chairman John T. Berteau, Designation Committe Member Dan Bailey and foundation President and CEO Debra Jacobs. to formally accept the donation and unveil the enhancement renderings showcased here.

This is the first time a private foundation is funding an enhancement of this kind at a national cemetery. What steps did we take to achieve this?

In January 2010, The Patterson Foundation began working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) to secure permission to donate an enhancement to the assembly area of Sarasota National Cemetery. That same month, TPF launched the Military Initiative, which honors the Patterson family commitment to veterans and service to our country.

In May 2010, The Patterson Foundation met with Steve L. Muro, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs and other VA dignitaries. The Patterson family military history  was shared, as well as their support and loyalty to Abraham Lincoln, who established the National Cemetery Adminstration, announcing it in his second inaugural speech.

October 2010: A TPF delegation traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a meeting with the National Cemetery Administration staff to reveal the designs and obtain NCA’s input. At that meeting, NCA made a selection and asked that an offer to donate letter and package of material be forwarded for formal consideration.

Following the instructions given by NCA in October 2010, the Military Initiative team has grown from one manager to now include architectural firms; an attorney; an art consultant; a Construction Advisory Group comprised of engineers, contractors and developers, the owner representative firm has been selected (announcement pending); and is currently working to form an Art Advisory Group.

The Military Initiative team continues to fine tune the concept and diligently work toward construction of this significant memorial - a place of education, remembrance, honor and patriotism. Upon construction completion, a formal and grand dedication will be planned.

This announcement is a "Win, Win, Win" for all involved. Veterans have a big win because this donation honors them. Our region wins because it will be a place that inspires patriotism through art and education. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery Administration marks a first in acceptance of a donation from a private foundation.

You are invited to follow the development of this initiative by following our blogs or visiting our website.

Please share your thoughts on how best to inspire patriotism.


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