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NCA spreads memorial benefits awareness at Homes on Wheels Alliance’s 2024 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

In its ongoing mission to raise awareness of VA memorial and burial benefits, Martin Wright from the National Cemetery Administration’s Office of Engagement and Memorial Innovation attended the Homes on Wheels Alliance’s 2024 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR) in Quartzsite, Arizona.

RTR is held annually in January, and it provides an opportunity for those who live a mobile lifestyle—in vehicles such as vans, RVs, and buses—to learn more about the benefits and support available to them. In fact, Veterans make up a meaningful contingent of RTR attendees. For them and many others, the mobile (or nomad) lifestyle is a call back to the experience of military service—with regular deployments, tight living quarters and the ability to innovate on the go.

As the first NCA employee to perform outreach at RTR, Wright found a receptive audience. During the three-day event, he spoke to over 150 Veterans and others regarding burial and memorial benefits earned through military service and the financial savings found in using NCA and VA benefits. For those planning to utilize a VA National Cemetery, that could mean up to $8,500 in savings.

The popularity of NCA’s outreach during RTR, and the need to reach more Veterans within the mobile lifestyle community, led Wright to contact RTR’s founder, Bob Wells, one of the community’s most well-known advocates and communicators. Wells has over 20 years of “vandwelling” and has amassed over 725,000 subscribers to his “Cheap RV Living” YouTube channel. Famously, he appeared in the 2021 Academy Award winning film, “Nomadland,” which tells the story of a widow traveling the United States discovering her new life in the nomad community.

Wright met up with Wells and Cody—his dog—at his van in Pahrump, Arizona. VA burial and memorial benefits are a particularly poignant topic for Wells, and he spoke of his own family’s experience of interring his son at Fort Richardson National Cemetery in 2011. In the video, he recounts the cemetery staff’s care and dignity for his son and how all Veterans and their families receive the same honorable burial at a national shrine when using their VA memorial benefits.

The video is just one part of NCA’s efforts to increase Veteran awareness and utilization of their VA burial and memorial benefits. NCA is seeking additional outreach opportunities to non-traditional groups like RTR, and if you know of a group or event that would be interested in hearing more about collaboration—including the financial savings involved with using a VA National Cemetery—please contact Martin Wright at ma***********

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