Legislation To Build State Veterans Cemetery Progresses


Lawmakers working to bring a state veteran’s cemetery to eastern South Dakota are getting help from a Purple Heart recipient.

The recipient, 69-year-old Ken Teunissen of Sioux Falls, is an Army veteran and vice president of the South Dakota Veterans Council. He’s also playing a key role in crafting changes to Senate Bill 91, which would build a state veteran’s cemetery in Minnehaha County.

On Monday, the joint committee on appropriations passed an amended version of the bill 17-0.

“I think the big thing is that the negotiations worked, and we sat down and got something that everybody in the state of South Dakota should be proud of,” Teunissen said.

While the cemetery will cost $6 million, Teunissen thinks it’ll get built. The federal government will cover a majority of the cost, but the state must come up with $600,000, which ultimately would go back to the state.

“I’m very optimistic, and I’m thinking positive,” Teunissen said.

Teunissen describes the cemetery as “a long time coming.”

“Different people have tried, the Veterans Commission has tried, and somewhere along the line, it didn’t happen, so, finally it’s, looks like it’s going to happen,” Teunissen said.

Teunissen says more than 50,000 of the state’s veterans live east river.

“That’s two-thirds of all the veterans in the state,” Teunissen said. “To require the families to bury their loved ones in Sturgis is not only time-consuming, but a lot of traveling.”

That’s where the Black Hills National Cemetery is located. 

“Veterans want to be buried in a place of honor, and this will be a place of honor for the veterans,” Teunissen said.   

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Don't Miss!

More Don't Miss