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Bryan City cemetery has a new place for veterans to rest - together

Nonprofits hope to raise money for memorials, other features
Posted at 10:53 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 23:53:11-04

BRYAN, Texas — Several nonprofits in the Brazos Valley are working to raise money for a veteran’s memorial at Bryan City Cemetery.

This piece of land is set to become a landmark resting place for Brazos Valley service members.

The Bryan City Cemetery established a veterans section less than two years ago. Already 38 veterans have been laid to rest there, together.

Jim Arthur Kimes will have been gone one year this coming Monday, after having served in the U.S. Navy as a corpsman for 28 years. When he was still alive and residing in Bryan, he would come every day to the veteran section of Bryan City Cemetery and clean the graves of every veteran.

Now that his body rests beside theirs, his wife Jamie and daughter Nancy Diaz make their own daily visits to this quiet place.

“They were married 58 years," Diaz said.

“I miss him so much," Jamie said. "And I loved him.”

According to Wreaths Across America, this is the only municipal cemetery in the area that has a section dedicated to all veterans, with VA-modeled tombstones.

“I’m close to him and he’s near me when I’m here," Jamie said.

Jamie wears her husband's wedding ring on beads around her neck.

“She’s able to come and visit him, and I think it’s gotten her through the grieving process, being here and being able to talk to him," Diaz said.

According to Ellen Fuller with WAA-Brazos Valley, the lot has enough space for over 800 veterans and their family members. Events honoring veterans can be held at the cemetery too, as Friday morning WAA helped host an event to honor POW and MIA service members.

"This was something the city did as part of their parks and recreation," Fuller said. "And we’re so fortunate the cemetery sexton is a Navy veteran, and the director of parks and rec, David Schmitz, is a veteran child.”

WAA, Brazos Valley Cares and other nonprofits are fundraising to build a Veterans of the Brazos Valley memorial stone, along with section markers and a bench for visitors to sit.

“Our goal is $50,000, and we’re about 34 percent there," Fuller said. "We have five of seven memorial medallions done. We need more benches and more funds for the monument.”

If you’d like to donate to the cemetery, contact Brazos Valley Cares by calling (979) 361-7815, or email WAA at waabrazosvalley@gmail.com.