BIG HEARTS: Abilene woman brings benches to Texas State Veterans Cemetery

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) - For nearly 20 years, Donna Kleman has served as a Chaplain for law enforcement agencies. Kleman is currently the Chaplain for the Taylor County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. She provides support and counseling to those in the field and their families. 
 
But Chaplain Donna, as she's known is also called Mom. 
 
"It' a place really to get a way and just reflect on issues, life and death. You come out here and realize that maybe the things that are bothering you are not really as big as you think they might be, " adds Kleman. 
 
Kleman visits the Texas State Veterans Cemetery often.
 
 "I wish that she wasn't here," says Kleman. 
 
She visits to be close to her daughter, Jennifer Hunter. It's the final resting place for 1,200 veterans including Kleman's daughter. Hunter was a Chief Warrant Officer 2 in the United States Army. She passed away at home in 2015. 
 
Kleman says, "The first three weeks after she was buried, I sat to where I was pretty much laying down. I wanted to get close to her."
 
Kleman realized something was missing at the Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Abilene, "On the second day of being here, I noticed there were no benches."
 
There are headstones for families to visit but no place for loved ones to sit until recently. Kleman lead the efforts to raise money for the benches that are now in every section of the cemetery where our local heroes are buried. 
 
"I feel close to really everybody out here because they served for the most part,  just like my daughter did," adds Kleman.
 
Kleman says the benches cost about $1,200 dollars a piece. She was able to raise the money through a scheduled run in her daughter's honor. Kleman's daughter was a marathon runner.
 

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