On Friday, September 17th, Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48) hosted a roundtable event at Heroes Hall in Costa Mesa with House Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Mike Bost, members of the Orange County Veterans Cemetery Coalition and Rep. Steel’s Veterans Advisory Board. The participants discussed issues facing the veterans’ community in Orange County and spoke about the proposed and long-delayed Veterans Cemetery site in Anaheim Hills. A public cemetery is already planned in the Gypsum Canyon site, and local leaders have proposed utilizing the space to honor local veterans. But after ten years, the project is still delayed and the Veterans Cemetery Coalition, organized by veteran Nick Berardino, have continued to speak out in support of finalizing this project’s construction. In 2018 the Orange County Board of Supervisors, under then-Chairwoman Steel’s leadership, transferred land from the Canyon site and designated it for use as a Veterans Cemetery.
“It is time to make this Veterans Cemetery a reality for the brave men and women who served our great country,” said Rep. Steel. “I am grateful for Ranking Member Bost’s leadership in Congress in support of our veterans, and for the Veterans Cemetery Coalition for their continued work in support of this project’s construction. Our servicemen and women deserve this honored resting place.”
“It was such a privilege to join my friend, Rep. Steel, for a roundtable with local veterans’ groups in Southern California,” said Ranking Member Bost. “It is unacceptable that veterans in Orange County have waited ten years for the Anaheim Hills veteran cemetery project to get underway. I appreciate Rep. Steel’s commitment to cut through the red tape and work with her Veterans Advisory Board to see this project through. I thank her for inviting me to participate in this important discussion. I look forward to continuing our mission together on behalf of the men and women who have served.”
“Veterans throughout Orange County are joyfully overwhelmed by the extraordinary bipartisan support of elected officials who support them in their fight to build a Veterans Cemetery at the Gypsum Canyon Site. Currently almost the entire Orange County congressional delegation (Reps. Michelle Steel, Lou Correa, and Young Kim) have supported the 156 veteran organizations in the coalition. Congresswoman Steel graciously brought Ranking Member Bost of the Veterans Affairs Committee to Heroes Hall to listen to Veterans express their support for a Veterans Cemetery at Gypsum Canyon and other challenges veterans currently face. Together we are recognizing that freedom isn’t free and we are one nation that is united in its support of the Veteran community,” said Nick Berardino.
The group also discussed Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs, veterans’ homes which provide long term care for aging vets, and the importance of supporting Gold Star families. Last month Rep. Steel launched her Veterans Advisory Board with veterans from California’s 48th Congressional District that represent multiple branches of the military and civilians who work in veteran services. You can learn more here.