Year  Marine Of the YearCommandants AwardAssociate
​Marine of the Year
2001Frank GonzalesPaul Lang
2002Paul LangMike Bellard
2003Bob BohachCraig Collins

2005Mike RoyBob Edwards
2006Danny ArmstrongMike Roy
2007Alex RomeroBob Edwards
2008Bob EdwardsMary Romero
2009Bob GabrychConnie Connell &
Bunny Howsmon

2010Tom MarrinJoan Gabrych
2011Pat ConnellBarb Lentz
2012Bruce BrownBarb Schaller
2013John CrawfordLarry Lockeby
2014Brian KerrCharlie Hightower
2015Gerry SchallerTom Marrin
2016Danny CampbellCrystal FranciscoConnie Connell
2017Bill FranciscoMarie RuchMike Bellard
2018Byron RuchByron And Marie RuchMarie Ruch


Pre-Need Burial Eligibility Determination

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented the pre-need burial eligibility determination program to assist anyone who would like to know if they are eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery. VA is pro-moting pre-need eligibility determinations to encourage Veterans and their eligible family members to plan in advance to use VA burial benefits that Veterans have earned through their military service. Planning in ad-vance for a Veteran’s or loved-one's final resting place can eliminate unnecessary delays and reduce stress on a family at a difficult time. Veteran families will have increased confidence that their loved ones are eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery at their time of need. 
Upon request VA will make eligibility determinations for burial in a VA national cemetery in advance of need. Eligible individuals are entitled to burial in any open VA national cemetery which includes opening/closing of the grave, a government-furnished grave liner, perpetual care of the gravesite, and a government-furnished upright headstone or flat marker or niche cover all at no cost to the family. Veterans are also eligible for a burial flag and Presidential Memorial Certificate. 
Burial in a VA national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and Veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable by law and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty under certain circumstances or who die while on training duty are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death. Spouses, minor chil-dren and, under certain conditions, dependent unmarried adult children are also eligible for burial even if they predecease the Veteran. 
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented this pre-need eligibility program so that Veterans, spouses and unmarried dependent adult children may better prepare for burial in a VA national cemetery prior to the time of need. Interested individuals may submit VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determi-nation of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, along with a copy of supporting documentation of military service such as a DD214, if readily available, by: toll-free fax at 1-855-840-8299; email; or mail to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, P.O. Box 510543, St. Louis, MO 63151. 
Authorized representatives can also apply on behalf of eligible claimants. An authorized agent or representa-tive is an individual authorized by the claimant to make decisions on the claimant's behalf. An authorized rep-resentative first needs to be recognized by VA as an authorized representative or agent by filing a VA Form 21-22 Appointment of Veterans Service Organization As Claimant Representative or VA Form 21-22a Ap-pointment of Attorney Or Agent As Claimant Representative. You can access the forms at and VA Form 21-22a at Written authorization should be included with the VA Form 40-10007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery, if available. A notarized statement is not required. 

VA will review pre-need burial applications and provide written notice of a determination of eligibility. VA will store the pre-need application, supporting documentation, and the decision letter to expedite burial ar-rangements at the time of need. We encourage you to keep the decision letter with supporting documentation with your important papers in a safe place and to discuss you burial wishes and final arrangements with your loved ones or other representatives. Submission of a pre-need burial eligibility application does not obligate the Veteran or family member to burial in a VA national cemetery. 
Applicants may indicate a preference for a VA national cemetery on the application form, but a pre-need de-termination of eligibility does not guarantee burial in a specific VA national cemetery or a specific gravesite. VA assigns gravesites in cemeteries with available space once death has occurred and the burial is scheduled. 
At your time of need, your next-of-kin, funeral home or other representative responsible for making your final arrangements should contact the National Cemetery Scheduling Office at (800) 535-1117 to request buri-al. VA will locate your pre-need decision letter and validate our determination. Because laws affecting VA burial eligibility and individual circumstances may change, upon receipt of a burial request, VA will verify pre-need decisions in accordance with the laws in effect at that time including bars to receipt of burial be