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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guest Post from Evan Thomas - Two New Search Engines

This guest post comes from Veteran Supporter Evan Thomas.  Evan is a student at UC Santa Barbara and interns for an organization called FindTheData.  They recently launched two new websites, but I'll let Evan tell you about them.  Though not a Veteran himself, Evan does have family members who served in the military.  Evan feels it's his "duty to support our troops.  They put their life on the line to protect our country, the least I could do is work on a website that helps people pay their tributes to fallen soldiers."  In his spare time, Evan likes to fish, hike, and play basketball.  If you have comments or questions about either of his websites, feel free to email him directly at  Evan hopes that you support the troops as much as he does.

And now.... on to Evan and FindTheData.

It’s no secret that our troops are our countries bravest heroes.  They deserve to be honored accordingly.  Writing letters to our troops or sending care packages is a great way of saying “thank you for defending my freedom.”  If you knew someone that lost their life in combat, you know the importance of paying your respects at their graveside.  Saying a prayer or leaving a wreath is gesture that shows your appreciation for their service.

In the United States, there are over 6 million Veterans buried in hundreds of different cemeteries.  Finding a Veteran’s burial place can be a daunting challenge.  The Department of Veterans Affairs keeps a massive database of burial sites of veterans and their beneficiaries, such as spouses and children.  This database is jumbled, messy and confusing.  A new website now makes it very easy to find a veteran grave for free:  

Users can use LocateGrave’s interactive platform to search for graves by cemetery, military branch, military rank, date of birth, name and more.  The detailed grave page shows a map of the cemetery and provides the cemetery’s contact information.  If you are logged in to Facebook, you can also leave a prayer or note to remember the Veteran.  

A similar online tool also powered by is the Medal of Honor Recipients database.  Like the Veteran grave locator, the Medal of Honor tool allows you to search for recipients based on war, rank and name.

***Note from Wendi*** To further honor your deceased loved ones, go to this VA website to order a Presidential Certificate memorializing their service to Country.

Many thanks to Evan and the folks at FindTheData for all the hard work they put into these two websites.  I can only begin to imagine the hours and hours of dedication it took to build them.  Keep up the good work, Evan!  We really appreciate it.  What will they come up with next?  Stay tuned to this website.  Hopefully they will publish it here first.

Until the next time....

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