Fort Bliss National Cemetery named National Shrine

Fort Bliss National Cemetery is named a National Shrine.

Fort Bliss National Cemetery is just one of four national cemeteries named as an "Organization of Excellence" this year by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The recognition is given to national cemeteries that meet strict standards.

"We've gone through the cemetery from one end to the other trying to find any way we can improve upon it to make our veterans' experience better," cemetery director James Porter said.

Porter said the cemetery met 68 out of 74 requirements for the designation. Thirty-five sites were visited this year and four were awarded the Organization of Excellence award, according to Porter.

“Only four out of 35 our year were selected as organizations of excellence and I think it’s an indication of the teamwork, the camaraderie (we have),” he said.

Employees were honored at a ceremony Thursday morning.

"It's an honor to be a member of the family of caretakers who keep this place looking as beautiful as it looks," caretaker Carlos J. Sanchez said. "I found my calling here at the National Cemetery."

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