The Fayetteville National Cemetery has been a final resting place for veterans since 1867.
Thousands of veterans have been buried there, but space for future burials was limited. Now, thanks to a $3,000 donation, the cemetery can acquire additional land to ensure that there will be ample room in the future.
"It's important to be able to expand because there is only so much land, and there is only so much land adjacent to the cemetery and when it's available they have to be able to get it,” said State Rep. Charlie Collins, a Republican who represents District 84. "I'm just excited to be a part of it, to honor our veterans and to know that we are going to be able to continue to keep them here at the Fayetteville National Cemetery."
Ron Butler, president of the Regional National Cemetery Improvement Corporation, said Collins played a huge rolein helping the RNCIC get the $3,000 project award from the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District.
"We were close to being closed up,” Butler said. “That would have been terrible, that's all you can say. We are going to plot on, we're going to keep on going, we're going to shake pockets, whatever it takes, legally I guess, to get money to take care of this problem."
Several national cemeteries across the country do not have space for new burials and rely on donations, just like the Fayetteville National Cemetery.
"It's really important that we continue to honor our veterans and these groups that invest in making sure that our national cemeteries can continue to inter our heroes, they're just critical to America,” Collins said. “I think it's just great here in Arkansas and Fayetteville in particular that we've got Ron Butler and the other folks in his group that are so dedicated to this effort."