Bedford County Veterans Service Office and the county's information technology (I.T.) department have developed a website which visitors can use to help find inscribed pavers at Bedford County Veterans Memorial on the square.
The memorial, unveiled in 2006, has as its focus a sculpture by Russ Faxon of a service member holding hands with a young child. The child symbolizes the future, which has been protected by the sacrifice of those who served, and also depicts the nation's gratitude towards service members.
The memorial was paid for by the sale of inscribed bricks, bearing the names of service members, which form the Veterans Memorial Plaza surrounding the statue. At the time of the unveiling, about 1,200 such pavers had been purchased, and sales continue, with proceeds dedicated to the plaza's maintenance and upkeep.
But, according to I.T. Director Chris White, some complained to Veterans Service Officer Gordon Warren and County Mayor Eugene Ray that it was difficult to find any particular paver.
"We have many people that come out," said Ray. "For example, this morning there was a preacher out there. I figured that there should be a better way for us to help the people."
Andrea Hess of the I.T. department worked with Ray and Warren to develop a search engine which is now live at http://www.bedfordcountytn.org/veteranpa.... The honored veterans are listed alphabetically by last name; if you click on a name, you are taken the appropriate location on a graphic representation of the memorial.
White said that both Ray and Warren were happy with the final result.
"It was a long and tedious undertaking," said White, "and I know they are both very pleased to have it completed and available for public use. I just don't think many people know about it."
Ray said the site would be helpful. Those who know about it can use it beforehand to get an idea of where to look for their paver, but even those who don't know about the site will benefit when they come in the county mayor's office, as they sometimes do, to ask for a location.
"I think it's going to be very helpful," said Ray.
As of Tuesday, the website wasn't working correctly on some Apple computers and tablets, but the I.T. department is aware of the problem and working working to fix it.
--John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette and covers county government.