BELMAR, NJ — Belmar is rallying the troops to raise funds for the repair of its “The Spirit of the Doughboy” monument vandalized 10 months ago.
Erected in 1930 to recognize 102 borough residents who served in World War I, the statue of the iconic infantryman stands in the borough’s Memorial Field on West Railroad Avenue, where in September 2016 vandals broke off a portion of its rifle and loosened the towering figure from its base.
Since then, fundraising efforts by the Belmar Historical Society for the repair work have not generated much interest — until now. After Borough Councilman Brian Magovern brought up the topic at a recent meeting, Mayor Matthew Doherty has taken the reins to further promote the initiative, including placing a dedicated link to “Donate to Repair the Doughboy Statue” on the borough’s website. To date, some $2,500 has been raised through the web-based effort.
“The Doughboy statue has been a gem here in Belmar since the 1930s. We must return it to its former glory,” Doherty said.
What makes the undertaking even more relevant is that 2017 marks the U.S. Centennial Commemoration of World War I, which the nation entered on April 6, 1917.
Since being called into action to have the pressed copper statue repaired, the historical society has received one $17,000 bid from a company specializing in metalwork restoration, according to Pat O’Keefe, the society’s secretary. “We’ve been trying to get other bids, but there are not too many companies that do this type of work.”
The last time the volunteer organization helped the borough raise funds to repair and bronze the statue was in 2004 when it garnered donations through a “buy a brick” effort to create a memorial patio around the statute and received a matching grant from the Monmouth County Historical Commission.
In fact, the memorial brick program is an ongoing effort by the Belmar Historical Society — and another way it raises funds to ensure the sculpture stands in grand style as a memorial to borough residents who served in World War I.
In addition, a benefit concert featuring local musician Pat Roddy will be held on Tuesday, August 8 at the Shillelagh Club, 815 16th Avenue, Belmar. Tickets for the event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m., are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
To purchase tickets, checks payable to Belmar Historical Society will be accepted at the Belmar Museum, 900 E Street, Belmar, or they can be mailed to Belmar Historical Society, P.O. Box A, Belmar, NJ 07719.
The Belmar Museum, situated in the annex of the Union Firehouse, is open Monday, 2 to 4 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon and the second Saturday of the month, 1 to 3 p.m.
For more information about these fundraising efforts, contact the society at firstname.lastname@example.org or 908-309-3380.
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