NEW PLAQUE DEDICATION
Tuesday, June 14
Where: Courthouse Plaza in Prescott
What: The dedication of a new plaque with the names of recent veterans killed in wars plus others from previous wars who were overlooked.
If you look at 187 names on a plaque, it’s sometimes hard to remember that each of those names was a person, who had family, friends and their own dreams for the future.
At noon on Tuesday, June 14, 32 more names are scheduled to be added to the All Veterans War Memorial on the Courthouse Plaza in Prescott.
One of those names many in Prescott Valley will remember, for they are his friends, family and people who shared his dreams: Private Reece Moreno.
Moreno spent most of his high school tenure at Bradshaw Mountain High School, but he wanted to graduate early so he received his diploma from Yavapai County High School.
He was 19 years old when he was killed on Nov. 24, 2006 in Balad Iraq where he was serving his country in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Moreno is one of five names of recent war casualties who are being added to the war memorial from the conflicts in the Middle East. But they are not the only new names. Researchers have found 27 others who qualify as people who were born or raised in the county, or claimed the county as their residence when they enlisted, and were either killed or went missing in a war zone.
Betty Bourgault said she gazed at the memorial after Memorial Day in 2014, and noticed it hadn’t been updated in a while (since 1991).
“I just went home and printed out the Iraq and Afghanistan casualties,” Bourgault said, stating that’s how she found Moreno’s name. “I called the parks facility … they wanted the information, I gave them the names.”
Originally, Bourgault said she thought the monument was for Prescott and upon finding out that it encompassed all of Yavapai County, she found more names for a total of six recent casualties. However, one mother asked that her son not be included because she felt her son didn’t really reside within the county, Bourgault said.
It was then she decided to do all the wars, Bourgault said. She worked for a year by herself before forming a committee, which includes co-chair Phil Goode, Dick Marley, Bill Dunn and Bill Halpin of VFW Post 10227, Josh Holt of VFW Post 541 and Yavapai Cemetery Association Chairman Julie Holst.
The more they looked, the more they found, Goode said.
“We ended up finding 27 veterans from Yavapai County between WWI and Vietnam,” he said. “Not only did we know of the five from Yavapai County, but these 27 additional ones, they’re going to be added for a total of 32.”
Due to her research, Bourgault has charts of all 32 of the soldiers whose names will be on the new plaque. Two days before she was to turn in the names, she found two more from WWI. One of them was Charles M. Dewey, the great nephew of Admiral George Dewey, who Dewey-Humboldt is named after. In finding those two names, Bourgault said she knows that there are more names out there that she hasn’t found yet.
Everyone always asks her why she is doing this, Bourgault said.
“If I hadn’t gone there, this wouldn’t be happening because all these years passed and nobody bothered,” she said, recalling her stopping by the monument in 2014. “The biggest thing which is important to me, when you think I found 12 WWI. They died 98 years ago and they’re finally going to get on the monument and that’s really amazing to me.”