'Time is running out': More names sought for veterans' memorial
It's not that Betty Bourgault and Phil Goode want more dead veterans. They just want to make sure all are properly acknowledged and honored on the All Veterans Memorial Plaque on the Yavapai County courthouse plaza.
The Yavapai County board of supervisors (BOS) approved an update to the plaque on Neil Logan's "Medivac" veterans' memorial on Dec. 7, which pleased the co-chairs of the Memorial Plaque Project Committee. However, they are calling on the public's help to make sure they do not overlook any Yavapai County veteran who died in service from World War I through Desert Storm and operations in Iraq and Afghanistan when it comes time to recast the plaque, last updated in 1991, Goode told the supervisors.
Bourgault has been working on this project since the spring of 2014, finding the names of six young men within a year. In May 2015, Goode joined efforts with Bourgault, and together their efforts have uncovered the names of 22 more soldiers; they have fully vetted about 13 of them, Bourgault said.
For example, she said a lot of miners from Jerome were drafted during World War I, and they qualify as a veteran killed while serving their country who were born, raised or enlisted while living in Yavapai County. It's difficult finding information from 100 years ago, but she has found copies of draft cards in databases and lists of casualties printed in daily newspapers.
Time is of the essence, although no date is set for casting the final plaque. Members have yet to determine what it might look like. Several options are under consideration, Bourgault said. One is to keep the plaque exactly the way it is and add the additional names in a smaller font.
The committee could change the plaque from a vertical to a horizontal orientation to provide more space, keeping the same font size. Also under discussion is the original proposal in 1985 that included a statement about the memorial's purpose.
"If you're a visitor or tourist, it's just a list of names without an explanation of who they are," Bourgault said. "Originally, the county approved 'This memorial is dedicated to all veterans of Yavapai County for their sacrifice in the service of their country.' That came out of Yavapai County Board of Supervisors meeting of Nov. 18, 1985."
If the plaque is recast in two pieces, the second piece, if needed, could be removed to add names in the future rather
than creating a new plaque.
Bourgault said she has yet to complete research on the following people from World War II in order to verify their information, and wondered if anyone had information on any of the four:
A few veterans had expressed concern earlier about adding names from wars or conflicts from the 21st century, but they withdrew their objections.
"It would be very unfortunate if a single veteran who deserves to be honored fails to be acknowledged simply because he or she was unknown to the Memorial Committee," Bourgault said, adding that the committee would like to complete the project in time for a ceremony near Memorial Day or July Fourth.
Please call Betty Bourgault at 781-413-6710 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Phil Goode at 928-821-8009 or email@example.com, if you can share any information.
Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at 928-445-3333 x2043 or 928-642-7867.