WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) are welcoming $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration (NCA) heading to Santa Fe Community College (SFCC). The funding will support SFCC’s Veterans Legacy Program (VLP) and a student-based project to create digital profiles of veterans at the Santa Fe National Cemetery, with a focus on elevating the stories of Hispanic, Native, and LGBTQ+ veterans.
“Our state has long had one of the highest rates of military volunteerism in the nation. For generations, servicemembers from all walks of life have proudly served. However, far too many stories of courage and service from underrepresented communities have gone untold. I’m proud to welcome this funding for Santa Fe Community College and their community-based Veterans Legacy Program that is shining a light on more veterans in New Mexico,” said Heinrich, Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees funding for VA.
“New Mexicans have a proud legacy of serving in our Armed Forces, bravely answering the call of duty for our country,” said Luján. “I’m proud to welcome this grant to the Santa Fe Community College that will preserve our shared history and provide the tools for future generations to learn about the sacrifices made by the generations before them. This is one step forward in recognizing our veterans and the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation."
“We must do more than thank our veterans for their service. This $500,000 grant will help preserve the legacy of their heroism and sacrifice for generations to come,” said Leger Fernández. “We must be better ancestors than descendants, and the Veterans Legacy Program will uplift and enshrine the stories of our Hispanic and Indigenous veterans with the reverence they deserve.”
“We are grateful to the Department of Veterans Affairs for the continued support of our Veterans Legacy Program,” said Becky Rowley, Ph.D., president of Santa Fe Community College. “Our faculty and staff worked closely with local veterans, SFCC students, and Santa Fe Public Schools and New Mexico School for the Arts students to capture and share the important and compelling stories of our veterans. Thanks to these funds, we’re excited to expand our reach to include more profiles of our Hispanic, Native American and LGBGTQ+ veterans.”
The project will also seek to collect art created by veterans both during and after their military service. The funding is part of the NCA’s Veterans Legacy Program (VLP).
VLP memorializes veterans through educational outreach, connecting students, educators, and citizens with NCA cemeteries and the histories of the veterans interred in them. NCA established VLP in 2016.