Question: I am a married veteran, 72, who needs to deal with mortality and would like to be buried in Hawaii someday. What is the procedure or where do I apply to make this possible? And what about my wife?
Veteran wants to
be buried in Hawaii
Answer: Veterans, their spouses and eligible children are entitled to be buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl, or the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.
But Punchbowl now will accept only cremated remains, unless eligible dependents are buried in the same grave site as the veteran, said Ronald Yonemoto, spokesman for the Veterans Administration. The state veterans cemetery will accept both ground and cremated remains; however, you must be a "legal resident of Hawaii" to be buried there. Spouses and eligible children also can be buried there even if they die before the veteran, Yonemoto said.
He recommended that veterans let their families know, in writing, what their wishes are. Place that document along with a DD-214 form (discharge papers), or equivalent, with other important documents where the family or executor can find them.
"The separation document is vital to obtain any death or burial benefit," Yonemoto said. "Burial plots or columbarium spaces cannot be reserved in advance," but arrangements can be made by a mortuary at the time of death, he said.
Call Punchbowl, 532-3720, or the state cemetery, 233-3630, for more information.
Neighbor island residents can call Veterans Services counselors at 933-0135, on the Big Island; (808) 243-5818, Maui, Molokai and Lanai; and 241-3348, Kauai.
Q: If they are operating Tripler for regular Army people and the retired, why do they need a veterans' hospital right next to it? Are benefits the same as at Tripler? If so, I think the government is wasting money by operating two hospitals. Can someone clarify this?
A: There are major differences, according to local Veterans Administration spokesman Ronald Yonemoto.
Tripler provides inpatient and outpatient care to active duty military and their dependents. Retired military and their dependents are treated on a space available basis, as long as they are enrolled in the TRICARE military health plan, Yonemoto said.
The new Spark M. Matsunaga Ambulatory Care Center provides only clinical outpatient services for eligible veterans. There are no beds for inpatient care, so hospitalization is provided at community hospitals under certain circumstances and at Triple through a sharing agreement. Psychiatric hospitalization is provided by a VA-staffed unit at Tripler.
"The VA Center for Aging is devoted to transitional and rehabilitative geriatric care for veteran patients," Yonemoto said. This service is not available at Tripler.
Yonemoto also notes that Tripler is a major teaching center, providing graduate training programs in many specialties, plus a full range of surgical and health care services. The VA hospital's scope, meanwhile is smaller. It offers dental, mental health, primary care, women's health, radiology, laboratory and prosthetic services, plus a pharmacy, and eye and various other specialty clinics.
AuweTo the woman driving a car with a "Building a Better Hawaii" sticker, who ran a red light on Beretania at Ward about 5 p.m. July 3, almost causing a serious accident. She sped away like nothing happened. If she wants to to "build a better Hawaii," she should abide by traffic lights.-- No name
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