Surry County is now a little closer to having its first-ever veteran’s cemetery after a land donation from a local veteran.
After Don Holder and his wife Doris attended a veteran’s funeral in Delaware a couple of years ago, Don decided that he wanted veterans to have a place where they could be buried here, with no cost for the plot.
“We went to a funeral for our best friend’s wife in Delaware two years ago. She was buried in a veteran’s cemetery. And I thought, we don’t have anything like that here. Why don’t we donate land so that we can have one here?” said Holder.
The land the Holders donated to the American Legion Post 123 is one and a half acres and is located adjacent to the cemetery at Antioch Baptist Church on N.C. 89 West. Holder said if the idea takes off and more land is needed, he has an additional two to three acres that he would be willing to donate.
Holder served in the United States Air Force for 22 years. He said one of the conditions of the land donation is that he wants to be buried there — he just doesn’t want to be the first one.
The Holders handed over the deed to the land to Post Commander Gary Willard in the legion hall at the post’s meeting Tuesday night.
Holder said he talked with a lumber company about donating their services to clear stumps on the land. He said he also wants to see if one of the local granite companies would consider donating a marker or sign that would distinguish the cemetery as one for veterans.
Mike “Major” Riffe with Post 123 helped facilitate the land donation between the Holders and the American Legion.
“We appreciate the donation of the land. I hope we can continue to work together in the future. It will take some time, but at least we’ve gotten started,” said Riffe.
Reach Mondee Tilley at email@example.com or at 719-1930.