COLORADO SPRINGS – One of the driving forces behind the new Pikes Peak National Veterans Cemetery was honored Thursday for all of his hard work.
The El Paso County Veterans Service Office named Victor Fernandez as its Veteran of the Year. For decades, Fernandez served as the chair of the local cemetery committee, which led to the purchase of the 350 acre site. Just this week the cemetery opened up applications for burial.
“It’s outstanding that people get remembered like this in a kind of nontraditional way,” said George Diemetriou, who served with Fernandez.
Fernandez was born and raised in Trinidad and went on to graduate from West Point. He also served time in Panama, Vietnam and Germany. It was in Germany where he served with Diemetriou, who was there as his friend was honored.
“I think it’s absolutely wonderful that somebody would have thought to honor him,” he said. “It’s amazing that he was able to do that and make the cemetery and reality.”
The Pikes Peak National Cemetery is a 374-acre Department of Veterans Affairs national cemetery located in southeast Colorado Springs. The cemetery will reportedly serve burial need for more than 95,000 Veterans, their spouses, and eligible family members for the next 100 years.
Fernandez addressed the crowd and said that getting the cemetery to the Pikes Peak region was something that he never could have done alone. He thanked his wife, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center and the Pikes Peak Foundation.