Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8) announced that Darrin White of the Veterans Administration (VA) cemetery in Tennessee will be the new director of the Washington Crossing National Veterans Cemetery in Upper Makefield Township.The announcement came at a July 26 Veterans Benefits Fair hosted by Murphy, where a crowd of about 250 veterans and their families assembled at Bucks County Community College to ask questions and listen to experts on veterans' matters.
Murphy said he had talked with VA Undersecretary for Memorial Affairs Bill Tuerk
The Department of Veterans Affairs named White, who went for the event.
"This is a great day for us here in Bucks County because it is just the latest hurdle to clear before we can continue the work on the cemetery," Murphy said.
White comes to Bucks County from the Memphis National Cemetery where he was responsible for all administrative, burial and maintenance operations at the VA National Cemeteries in Memphis, Little Rock, Ark. and Corinth, Miss.
Before that, he was the assistant to the director at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island, New York.
"This cemetery has been a long time coming," Murphy told the veterans. "We persevered through roadblocks, delays and other hurdles, but finally, this long-overdue honor will be built right here in Bucks County."
Murphy said he is "proud of the bipartisan work we have done for this cemetery and so many of our local elected leaders who collaborated on this project are here today."
"I want to thank our Bucks County Commissioners and the representatives from the Newtown, Wrightstown and Upper Makefield townships, as well as members of the Council Rock School Board for their hard work and for being here today," the congressman said.
"This cemetery would not be a reality were it not for your dedication and cooperation," Murphy noted.
Murphy said he hosted the event "to talk about something close to all of our hearts - taking care of those who wore the uniform of this great country."
He also noted there are about 24 million veterans in this country.
"With a new generation of American heroes returning home from battle, our duty to provide them with the benefits and care they have earned."
He said the matter "could not be more critical."
Murphy is the only Iraq War veteran serving in Congress.
After the cemetery announcement, the panelists led a discussion about benefits and the issues facing the veterans' community. Then the veterans talked one-on-one with the experts about their individual problems and to learn more about benefits.
The panelists were Eileen Kostic of the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Regional Office and Insurance Center; Cliff Jeffries of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; Richard Citron, director of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center; Kimberly Wright, director MSN-1 (Philadelphia Memorial Service Network); Dan Fraley, Bucks County director of Veterans Affairs; Andy Pahountis, Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and Pat Pomroy, Philadelphia Veterans Multi-Service and Education Center.
Because of the talks, Murphy and Fraley discovered that many disabled veterans in Pennsylvania did not know they were eligible for property tax relief.