In New York State – the efforts of the MIAP/VRP fall under guidance and direction of the Patriot Guard Riders of New York. A while ago I took on the position of State Coordinator for the MIAP/VRP.
New York State in no different than the other 49 states in terms of the number of unclaimed cremated remains that are held in custodial care by funeral directors. There are many valid reasons that such situations exist – reasons that can sometimes make it difficult for funeral directors to make proper and final disposition of these cremated remains.
The MIAP/VRP operation here in New York recognizes that many of the unclaimed cremated remains are those of veterans and our mission is to be able to work with funeral directors to facilitate the identification of these cremains to determine who are veterans. MIAP/VRP will then work with the funeral directors to arrange for the interment of these veterans, with military honors, at an appropriate cemetery. If done correctly, this can be done with little or no cost to the funeral director as Veterans Benefits will apply to the expense of interment.
However – At this point in New York, current Department of Health regulations prevent the funeral directors from fully participating in the endeavor to bury these unclaimed cremains of veterans. I won’t go into detail but the DOH regulations pretty much hand cuff the funeral director and our efforts here in New York. So for the last 18 months our efforts in New York have slowed to a crawl.
GOOD NEWS – With the efforts of the New York MIAP/VRP, and the New York State Funeral Director’s Association, we have finally been able to get legislation introduced that will permit and protect funeral directors in their efforts to inter our forgotten veterans. Such legislation has been crafted and is out of The Committee for Veteran’s Affairs and is working its way thru the legislative law making process. I’m including a link to the NYS Assembly website where you can read this bill and understand the implications.
Once this legislation is passed, the funeral directors and the NY MIAP/VRP will be permitted to work together to bring about the honorable burial of our long forgotten veterans.
For more information: Assembly.state.ny.us