ROSEBURG, Ore. (KMTR) - The Roseburg VFW is building a memorial that has QR codes to get individual honoree bios.
A new veterans memorial might be putting Roseburg on the map. The one-of-a-kind Veterans Remembrance Memorial will include plaques honoring individual veterans with an engraved headshot and a Quick Response (QR) code that scans to an online biography. Visitors with the QR application on their mobile devices will be able to scan any plaque to read each person's biography.
The Roseburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Department (VFW OR Post 2468) started working on the memorial three years ago. One of the project chairs, Bill Hamman, says working on this project has always been a dream.
"To get this thing started and going . . . it's like winning a million dollars for me," Hamman said. "It has been my dream and now it's going to happen. It's something that I wanted to leave as part of me. I wanted to leave this part for posterity."
Hamman says he has always wanted to build a memorial that honored American veterans who served in combat or received hazardous duty pay. This memorial not only honors vets, but it has components that Hamman says are meaningful to veterans.
For example, the concrete work, all done by Tom Pappas, symbolizes different important marks in American war history. On the back of the memorial, Pappas built a model USS Missouri which represents the signing of documents ending World War II.
The walls on which the plaques will be mounted are slanted and short. Their placement is such that everyone - including those in wheelchairs or with walkers - is able to go through the walkways with ease and be able to see each plaque. Hamman says Pappas is especially well-known for his concrete work at Disneyland.
Commander Mike Eakin of the Roseburg VFW says the memorial will have 6,000 spots available for plaques. He says the memorial will be one of two that has plaques with polished black Mongolian marble, second to the Vietnam Memorial.
Eakin says the Remembrance Memorial will also have a marble mural with a graphic timeline of different wars in which the United States has participated. He says not only does he want the veterans to be recognized with honor, but he wants the memorial to serve as a spot to learn about history, especially for children learning about wars.
Plaques are $150 each and those honored can be currently serving members of the military or veterans of any American-related war, including the Civil War. As long as service is documented, family members, friends or veterans themselves can file at the VFW for someone's name to receive a plaque.
Eakin says the project has received a considerable amount of help from various volunteers including the National Guard and Home Depot. He says Home Depot employees volunteered their time to work on the memorial and the company donated over $5,000 in gift certificates for the plants, irrigation and electrical systems. The VFW hopes the project will be completed by Memorial Day weekend.
The members still have quite a bit of money to raise. Hamman says the group is still at least $50,000 in debt.
"It isn't about us," Hamman said. "This whole thing isn't about Mike Eakin or Bill Hamman. It's about the veterans. And recognizing those people who deserve to be recognized for what they did. Or what they were willing to do. That's what it's all about."
For information regarding donations, the Roseburg VFW can be reached at 541 672-9716 and are located at 1127 NE Walnut Street in Roseburg.