Group to continue restoration and maintenance of long-neglected veterans cemetery


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Members of Alpha Friends of Indian River City United Methodist Church in Titusville pause from placing flags on graves at the Brevard Veterans Cemetery. Group leader Sam DiBlasio is part of an effort to raise funds for the cemetery’s restoration.

SENIOR LIFE Courtesy of Alpha Friends

Taps will echo among the tombstones in Titusville’s Brevard Veterans Cemetery where 126 veterans have been laid to rest.

Their tribute has been a long time coming.

Dedicated on Veterans Day 1978, the cemetery at 1143 Day St. had become neglected and in need of major upgrades.

Learning of its plight, Sam DiBlasio and Alpha Friends, the group he leads at Indian River City United Methodist Church, began placing flags on the graves during patriotic holidays and plan to continue with restoration and maintenance of the cemetery.

“The cemetery is Titusville’s hidden treasure,” DiBlasio said. “Its veterans served in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.”

On Nov. 10, 1978, Walter Smith Jr., who served in U.S. Coast Guard, was the first to be buried there. On Jan. 18, 1999, Jack N. Hornberg, who served in the U.S Navy, was the last.

To finance much-needed repairs, DiBlasio, Albert Therriault, Robert “Bobby” Patry and Tom Stewart have organized a fundraising effort, “Friends of the Cemetery.”

“By working with government organizations and raising funds from local businesses and concerned citizens, we can restore the cemetery to an honorable resting place for our veterans, of which the community can be proud,” DiBlasio wrote.

He cited an estimated budget of $12,000 to $15,000.

Although Friends of the Cemetery is not a non-profit organization, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4228 is participating by accepting and overseeing donations.

“They are a 501(c)(3) and wonderful to work with,” DiBlasio said.

Participants will receive a thank-you letter and a receipt that can be used for tax purposes.

“Together we can reach our goal to honor our deserving veterans,” DiBlasio said.

The community is invited to attend Veterans Day ceremonies at the cemetery.

Starting 9 a.m. Nov. 11, it will include the posting of the colors, singing the National Anthem, a 21-gun salute and speakers. The bugle will sound with the playing of taps as a reminder to our heroes and their families that they are never forgotten. 

Checks may be made out to:

VFW Post 4228 (with Friends of the Cemetery noted on the check.)

Send to: Friends of the Cemetery, 777 Peachtree St., Titusville FL 32780