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Giving honor where honor is due
Bobbie Cox is creating a list of veterans buried at Juniper Haven Cemetery to ensure that all veterans are recognized with a flag on Memorial Day
Bobbie Cox and more than 30 volunteers have gone through the Juniper Haven Cemetery and wrote down names of markers for each row. Cox said they made a notation for every veteran who was buried, and they will cross-reference their lists with local veterans groups.
October 25, 2012
Leadership is one of the biggest marks of an Eagle Scout.
Bobbie Cox demonstrated this initiative as he took on the project of identifying all the veterans at Juniper Haven Cemetery.
Cox got the idea for his project when he was placing American flags on the veteran headstones on Memorial Day.
“Every Memorial Day, when the Scouts and the veterans go up to place flags on the veterans’ headstones, I always noticed at the end of the day, my dad and I have to walk to the back of the cemetery and place a flag on my great-grandpa’s headstone,” commented Cox. “I always wondered, ‘Why didn’t anyone else get him.”’
He said that it took a while for him to realize that the reason was due to the fact that his grandfather’s marker, like many veteran markers, didn’t have a service cross or anything that would indicate he was a veteran.
“That is kind of where I got the idea,” he added.
Cox began his project under the mentorship of the late Gary Soules. He has been completing his work with the help of Sue Williams, Troop #263 Committee Chairperson.
When he started the process of identifying veteran markers, Cox said he learned that in addition to a service cross, there is usually something else that describes the branch of service the veteran served. Another type of marker unique to service veterans is a bronze marker, which has to be requested by the family.
“That is only if the family requests one. According to the cemetery, very few actually request one because they want their own,” said Williams.
Cox said according to Juniper Haven Cemetery Manager Alan Bidiman, more than half of the veterans in the cemetery are unmarked. In all, there are as many as 7,000 markers in the entire cemetery.
“That was overwhelming, because I didn’t know there was that many up there,” said Williams.
“At first, I really didn’t realize how big it was (the project) until I went and talked to Mr. Bidiman at the cemetery,” exclaimed Cox.
His next step was to get an inventory of names in each row.
“To write down all those names and all those rows, was the biggest part of it for me,” he said.
Cox demonstrated a diagram of the eight blocks that the front of the cemetery is divided into. There are more in blocks in the back. He recruited approximately 30 volunteers to get this information by having them go row by row. They make a list by block and name, and make reference to any markers that indicate they are from a veteran.
He then visited various veterans groups, such as VFW, the Elks Lodge, and Band of Brothers to gather more names. He is hoping to use these lists to cross-reference his current list. He also crafted a brochure that explains his project, so he could pass it out.
HIPPA law prevents the cemetery from divulging information about clients, regardless of how strange that may seem. Many people buy their lots ahead of and there is still sensitive information that must be kept confidential. . The cemetery can, however, pass out the brochure and give Cox’s contact information.
Cox is also setting up a website for his project. It is his goal to have the project complete by Memorial Day in May 2013.
Cox has been a Boy Scout since he was 12. He is now a senior in high school, and working towards his Eagle Scout project. This involves the opportunity for a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout or qualified Venturer in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to demonstrate leadership, while completing a project for the benefit of his community. The project must benefit an organization other than the BSA, and also requires a great deal of documentation from the project.
To leave a message for Bobby Cox in regards to his Veterans’ project, please Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cox and Williams highly recommend that anyone who has a name of a veteran that should be added to the list, that they use this email.