130 Academy Drive
Dunbar, WV 25064
Jaime Cochran, Interim Director
The Donel C. Kinnard Memorial State Veterans Cemetery is located on a 348-acre plot of land in Institute, West Virginia. The cemetery can eventually provide a dignified resting place for 66,000 of our state’s honored veterans and their closest family.
Donel C. Kinnard
The cemetery is named after U.S Navy Hospital Corpsman Senior Chief Donel C. Kinnard, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, whose awards include the Navy Cross, seven Purple Hearts, and the Bronze Star.
After he retired from the U.S. Navy at the end of his distinguished 22-year career, Kinnard became an outspoken advocate for veterans issues throughout the state. He was appointed chairman of the West Virginia Veterans Council and served as chairman of the West Virginia State Veterans Cemetery Organization and the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Home Committee.
At his request, following his death on February 14, 2009, his ashes were held until the new state veterans cemetery was completed. The state of West Virginia was proud to honor him as the first veteran interred in the cemetery that bears his name.
To read Don's full biography, please click here.
In 1987, construction of an 89-acre West Virginia National Cemetery in Grafton - the second national cemetery in the North-Central West Virginia city - gave the Mountain State two national veterans cemeteries. Neither, however, were conveniently located for use by residents of the state’s central or southern counties.
Members of veterans service organizations and concerned citizens organized a successful effort in 2006 to establish a State-run veterans cemetery to better serve West Virginia’s veterans and their families.
A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant helped facilitate construction of the cemetery. Work began in October 2010. The opening and dedication ceremony was held on Memorial Day 2012.
Provided at no cost to the veteran:
Grave Site or Niche, Opening and Closing, Concrete Pre-Set Crypt, Headstone / Niche Cover, Perpetual Care, Presidential Memorial Certificate.
Eligibility for Dependents:
Order of death does not determine eligibility for benefits. A spouse or child may pre-decease the veteran. Eligibility is based on the veteran’s service.
Burial of Surviving Spouse:
A veteran’s surviving spouse who married a non-veteran after the veteran’s death is now eligible for burial in the cemetery based on his or her marriage to the eligible veteran. This only applies to deaths of surviving spouses that occur on or after January 1, 2000.
The grave location of your loved one is furnished on the map included in the burial document folder. Additionally, there is a grave locator in the Administration Building to assist visitors who may not know the location of a gravesite.
A temporary grave marker is used to mark the grave following the interment. A permanent grave marker will be furnished free of charge by the federal government without application from the family. Every effort is made to have the grave marker delivered and set within 60 days of interment.
The United States flag is flown over the cemetery every day. The flag is flown at half-staff on the morning of Memorial Day and during interment services. Graves are decorated with small US flags the day before Memorial Day and are removed immediately after the holiday. Flags are not permitted on graves at any other time. It is the responsibility of the Funeral Home to provide flags for burial services.
Immediately after each interment, the grave is filled and leveled. As soon as the headstone / marker is set the site will be seeded. Until growing conditions are favorable and turf has been established, burial areas may be substandard in appearance. Because the soil continues to sink after a burial, a new grave requires repeated renovation. Matters which appear to need immediate corrective action should be brought to the attention of the Cemetery Administrator.
Floral Policies at the DCKMSVC are modeled after the policies of federal veteran's cemeteries. Please click here to read the full policy.
The DCKMSVC follows federal guidelines and requirements for eligibility.
Eligibility is as follows, but is not limited to:
- Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty.
- Any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and had a minimum of 24 months of active duty.
- The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran.
- The minor children of an eligible veteran. A minor child is defined here as one who is under 21 years of age or who is under 23 years of age and is pursuing full-time instruction at an approved educational institution.
- Any state or federal Veterans Affairs office can assist in determining eligibility for burial in a VA national or state veteran’s cemetery.
Click here for a pre-eligibility form.
Resources for funeral directors can be found here.