A Killeen veterans group is asking for the community’s help to buy 2,000 American flags that will go next to the graves of those buried at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery.

The flags are 8 inches by 12 inches, and are placed next to the graves at the cemetery two days during the year: Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

“We grow at a rate of about 800 gravesites per year,” said Randy Brumagim, a volunteer coordinator at the cemetery and president of Chapter 147 of the Disabled American Veterans, which manages the flag placements every year.

Since the cemetery opened in 2006, the veterans group has been purchasing and caring for the small flags, which are reused annually until they wear out. As the cemetery has grown, however, replacing the unserviceable flags and buying flags for new graves every year has come with added costs.

The cemetery now has more than 6,000 graves and is estimated to have 9,940 people interred there in five years, 14,270 in 10 years and 27,360 in 20 years, according to cemetery officials.

At 58 cents each, the 2,000 flags will cost the veterans group more than $1,100. Boy Scout troops help place the flags every year.

With limited income, Brumagim said it’s not practicable anymore for the veterans group to pick up the tab for the flags, so the group began a fundraising effort this year with the Central Texas Area Veterans Advisory Committee. About $200 has been raised so far, and the DAV board has agreed to pay for whatever may be left by the time the flags need to be ordered in mid-September, Brumagim said.

Guadalupe Lopez, co-chairman of the veterans advisory committee, said his organization helps coordinate the activities of all veterans groups in the area, including fundraisers.

“We do not have any resources other than what’s given to us by the local veterans organizations in the form of annual dues,” Lopez said in an email.

Contact Jacob Brooks jbrooks@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7468

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