Veteran services

Veterans Database | | enewscourier.com

What began several years ago as an effort to locate all deceased veterans buried in Limestone County cemeteries has not expanded to creating a database for all veterans in Limestone County. Limestone or those with family ties to the county. Database manager Bob Borden worked countless hours as a volunteer at the Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives to build an accurate record that the public can access for generations to come.

“The idea came when we were originally going to create a database for deceased veterans so people would know that this deceased veteran has a story,” Borden said.

Borden and museum staff sent word to several organizations in an effort to round up others willing to help in the effort. “We had a group of scouts and churches and things like that go to these cemeteries and initially handwrite all the veterans. They looked for the veteran’s plaque, a granite stone or an indicator that he was a veteran,” Borden said.

Many names were collected and entered into the database, but museum director Sandy Thompson had an idea. “Why Aren’t We All Veterans?” she suggested.

Five or six years ago, Borden expanded the project. Several Boy Scouts have helped in earning their Eagle Scout badge. “One donated a computer and another scout from the same troop donated the software,” Borden said.

Over time, the software was no longer suitable for what was needed for the database, such as adding photos. Borden sought help from Dr. Katia Maxwell of Athens State University. Maxwell, a computer science professor, sent two students to help with their finals.

“They developed it and used the Maria database to develop this particular program. It’s exclusive – I had to sign a document and Sandy had to sign a document saying we won’t pass this program on to anyone in other,” Borden said.

With a suitable program in place for the purpose, the monumental task of finding and registering all Limestone County veterans continued.

“I think it’s not that important that us old people look and see who was a veteran and what he did. For me, it was much more important that the children knew. Up and coming generations of County Limestone. It’s mostly Limestone County veterans, but if you’re a resident and you have a veteran who lives in Waukegan, Michigan, they’re still part of the family,” Borden said.

He continued: “My grandson has never met his great-great-grandfather and he should know his ancestors are. He’s there and everyone else associated with his family, even though his great-great-grandfather never lived in County Limestone, he does. So it is important.

Borden spoke of the enthusiasm he saw in young people who visited the museum and the excitement they felt when they saw their own ancestor in the database. “For me, the main goal is that future generations can see,” he said.

There are cemeteries in Limestone County that have yet to be mapped, and Borden often learns of new cemeteries hidden throughout the county. “We still don’t know how many cemeteries there are in the county. I’m trying to find the specific addresses. I would love to do this for Memorial Day in hopes of having a flag on every veterans grave,” Borden said.

“I want to put a Google Map in the database so that when you click on ‘Joe Jones’ and he’s at Roselawn Cemetery, you click on cemetery info and there’s a map that tells you how you get there. On the bigger ones, we’ve divided them into sections so the grave is easier to find,” Borden said.

Borden hopes there will be groups or individuals who can help locate and map all cemeteries as well as ensure that every veteran is entered into the database. “It would be nice if someone went to every cemetery to do that,” he said. “Obviously I can’t be here doing this and over there doing that too.”

“It’s not difficult, but it’s tedious and it’s done for me,” Borden said with a smile. “I have time to do it, but again, the main thing is to make sure that future generations understand that there are a lot of people who have achieved a lot and it might otherwise go unnoticed. “

To ensure your veteran is included in the database, contact Borden at the Alabama Veterans Museum & Archives by emailing [email protected] Forms are available to complete for each veteran to add, including photos, by visiting the museums website at www.alabamaveteransmuseum.com. “It’s a personal preference, and they can send any photo they want, but I like that the top left photo is the service photo. I always want to show off when they’re young. I think that’s cool,” Borden said.