Miami County non-profit wants to honor WWI veterans with grave markers

PERU, Indiana. – A non-profit in Peru called Miami County Worth Remembering is looking to honor men and women who fought and served during World War I.

Regine Brindle, a member and researcher behind the project, came up with a list of more than 1,500 veterans with ties to Miami County. It took her two years to make it. She spent thousands of hours going through newspaper clippings, death records, and the census to find the names.

"It is not going to be a perfect record," she said. "We are well aware of that. There are too many records missing. We are going to make it as perfect of a record as we can."

Last November, the organization made ceramic poppies for the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. To remember their service, volunteers placed a poppy on the front lawn of Peru's courthouse for every veteran on the list. At the time, it had just under 1,500 names.

Now, the group is taking it a step further. Brindle noticed many of their gravesites do not have markers to remember their service. She wants to change that.

"Their work and the way they served ended the war," she said. "It is a shame to watch them be gone and be lost."

The non-profit is trying to take a picture of every gravesite to document whether or not it has a memorial marker. She said there are more than 400 World War I soldiers buried at Mt. Hope Cemetery and more than half of them do not have markers.

"What an amazing sacrifice they made to go and help people they did not know," she said.

Brindle published online a full list of the names of World War I veterans from the county. The non-profit's president, Brenda Weaver, said honoring their service makes this time-consuming job rewarding.

Thankfully, Brindle said they are getting help from the American Legion who donated markers for the project.

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