The Kiwanis Club of Edinburg, and 50 community members, searched thousands of graves at the Hillcrest Memorial Park to create a database listing hundreds of fallen heroes buried at the cemetery.

“It was a very difficult task, because we have 500 plus, 550 plus servicemen there and it’s a civilian cemetery,” said Kiwanis Club of Edinburg President Robert Villarreal. “So, when you have random headstones, you have to look and identify each one.”

For the past five years, the Kiwanis Club has been placing American flags at fallen heroes’ graves for Memorial Day. With the creation of the database this year, though, many will be able to pinpoint the location of more service members.

“At least half of them are from World War II, and we know that there is at least 25 killed in action,” said Kiwanis Club Lieutenant Governor Sonia Enriquez. “The oldest soldier that’s there is from 1918, Private Guzman, that was killed in the American Expedition Forces right around World War I.”

Enriquez’s uncle, Gilbert, served in Vietnam and is also buried at the cemetery.

“He wasn’t being recognized for the service he gave to his country,” Enriquez said. “He was not killed in action in Vietnam, but passed away from an illness that he acquired while he was in Vietnam, and I thought it was only honorable for me to honor him by placing an American flag on his grave.”

Enriquez said the club wants to have Veteran Affairs certify the database for official future reference, and has been asked for a database to be done at other cemeteries.