With more than 6,000 veterans honored at the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial, finding a specific name has become easier.
An updated website at soldiersfieldveteransmemorial.org allows visitors to easily search for a veteran by first or last name.
“If people are down at the site and looking for a loved one’s paver, they can use their mobile phone to go right to the site,” said Lonnie Hebl, president of Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial Committee.
From the memorial website’s home page, a visitor can enter a name — or part of a name — and be taken to a list of potential matches. From that list, it just takes a click to get to a map of the memorial and indication of where to find the name.
The update was made possible by committee member Mike Pruett, who donated the services of his company, MLT Group, to create the updated website.
“It’s a fresh, brand-new site that was long overdue,” Pruett said.
While tweaks continue to be made on the website, he said it already has a variety of history and photos related to the memorial in an effort to raise awareness of the memorial and the committee that works to maintain it.
Maintenance of the memorial is accomplished through volunteer efforts and a committee fund that covers costs so the expense doesn’t fall onto the city, which owns the parkland that holds the memorial.
Hebl said he hopes the updated website will help draw more attention to the monumentl, which saw its first Memorial Day ceremony 20 years ago.
To do that, he said the website will become a place to turn to view upcoming events related to area veterans and their causes, whether at the memorial or elsewhere in the community.
“We wanted to keep people updated,” he said.
In addition to looking at new activities, the website offers an increased number of photos and details regarding past memorial events, from a timeline detailing its creation to images from recent visits.
Pruett said he’s hoping the collection will grow as community members provide old photos related to the memorial.
“We would definitely be interested in putting them on the site,” he said.
Other features expected to be added to the site are the option to add a name to a waiting list for future pavers, as well as the ability to set up donations to help maintain the memorial.