After more than 100 local veteran groups formed Orange County’s first-ever coalition to build a veterans cemetery, First District Supervisor Andrew Do says the Gypsum Canyon site near Anaheim Hills has the unanimous support from the entire board.

Within the last month, the long-debated veterans cemetery project came to a critical juncture, when the Irvine City Council failed to reach an agreement on a suitable site, despite a dual site study conducted by the California Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Irvine City Council’s non-decision has lead local veterans groups out of Irvine and into Gypsum Canyon. With the early support of Third District Supervisor Don Wagner, the momentum behind the Gypsum Canyon veterans cemetery is building, creating a new beacon of hope for veterans.

On July 2, during the first public press conference at the proposed Gypsum Canyon site, Nick Berardino, a decorated Vietnam veteran and president of VALOR, used a macabre anecdote from his time in Vietnam to summarize the struggle in Irvine: 

“In Vietnam we used to say, ‘When we die and go to heaven, St. Peter we will tell, another veteran reporting sir, I’ve served my time in hell.’ I used to think that applied to Vietnam until I tried to get a cemetery in Irvine!”

On Friday, July 16, Do, Chairman of the O.C. Board Of Supervisors, issued a statement emphasizing that Irvine was no longer a feasible destination, adding that he and then Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer worked to bring interest to the Gypsum Canyon site, which also received unanimous support from the board.

Now, more than three years later, Do says he is happy to announce the collective support for this project in Gypsum Canyon.

“I hope everyone in Orange County gets behind this site so that we can move from plans to action as soon as possible,” Do said in a statement.