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SFCC Veterans Legacy Grant Program Seeks State Funding

Santa Fe National Cemetery
Kevin Meerschaert
Santa Fe National Cemetery

The Veterans Legacy Grant Program at Santa Fe Community College is seeking funding from the state of New Mexico to expand the scope of its project.

SFCC History Professor Dr. Steve Martinez is the director of the Legacy Grant Program. He told members of the Interim Military and Veteran Affairs Committee that the only purpose of the program is to memorialize New Mexico veterans. Martinez says so far, they have published 160 biographies.

“We are the only veterans program in the United States that has both English and Spanish on the homepage,so we are a bilingual program for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” he said. “We’ve done 19 middle school and high school lesson plans that we’ve developed for Santa Fe Public Schools. Those are open source, they’re free to any school teacher in the United States. They are also on the Santa Fe Public Schools homepage as well.”        

Through the program, Martinez says they have brought 180 students to the Santa Fe National National Cemetery on Memorial Day. The students are assigned to write a biography about the veteran that they found.

The past two years the program has received $800,000 from the US Department of Veteran Affairs to honor veterans, but did not receive any funding for this year which is why they are asking the state for help.

Martinez says the federal funding was directed to telling the stories of those veterans buried at the tribal and national cemeteries. He says with some more state funding they would be able to memorialize any veteran buried in any New Mexico cemetery.         

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