Northeast Louisiana Veteran’s Cemetery in Rayville will be receiving the National Cemetery Administration Operational Excellence Award, said Tim Johnson, director.
The cemetery is reviewed every three years with the NCA panel checking grounds, grass, cleanliness, records and edging. A highlight in the review was in headstone alignment where the cemetery scored 100 percent.
“This is a big award,” Johnson said. “We received one of the highest scores in the country.”
An awards ceremony is planned Oct. 10 beginning at 11 a.m. at the cemetery with Randy Reeves, under secretary for United States Veterans Administration presenting the award and giving the keynote address. Special guest will be Col. Joey Strickland, Louisiana Department of Veteran’s Affairs (LDVA).
The ceremony is free and open to the public.
Much of the success from the review can be credited to Randy Joiner, cemetery superintendent, Johnson said.
Along with Joiner, Johnson said area organizations have contributed to the success of the cemetery.
“This area is so supportive of what we do here,” Johnson said. “This is not about us, but about the veterans.”
The 52-acre cemetery currently holds 441 graves and contains a pond along with a covered shelter for committal services and administration offices. It has space for 32,000 graves.
Northeast Louisiana Veteran’s Cemetery is administered by LDVA while meeting all criteria of a national cemetery, Johnson said.
“We meet all the same criteria as Arlington National Cemetery,” Johnson said.
Northeast Louisiana Veteran’s Cemetery in Rayville is one of four veteran cemeteries LDVA operates across the state. Other cemeteries are located in Keithville, Leesville and Slidell. Each location features spacious grounds and covered shelter for committal services.
Burial of an eligible veteran is at no cost to the veteran, and a small fee is charged at the time of interment for spouses and dependent children of eligible veterans.
Northeast Louisiana Veteran’s Cemetery is located at 2413 La. Hwy. 425.