BELMAR, NJ — Belmar’s Doughboy is quite a special guy.

Ever since efforts were stepped up to raise funds to repair the vandalized 87-year-old “The Spirit of the Doughboy” statue, the community has responded. And the benefit concert held on August 8 was no exception.

More than 200 people gathered at the Shillelagh Club in Belmar, where the Pat Roddy Band provided the entertainment and nearly 30 restaurants, businesses and individuals donated food platters, gift cards or raffle baskets for the fundraiser. In total, the event brought in nearly $5,700 through ticket and T-shirt sales and raffles.

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The event was hosted by Belmar Historical Society, which estimates it will cost $17,000 to repair the monument, which was erected in 1930 to recognize 102 borough residents who served in World War I. Last September, the towering figure of the infantryman that stands in Memorial Field on West Railroad Avenue was damaged by vandals who broke off a portion of its rifle and loosened it from its base.

To bring a bit of the Doughboy to the benefit concert, the society displayed a large poster of the treasured statue, as well as the plaque that’s on the statue bearing the names of the Belmar residents who served in the war and other assorted memorabilia.

In addition to the benefit concert, another $2,950 has been raised through a dedicated link to “Donate to Repair the Doughboy Statue” on the borough’s website.

What makes the entire fundraising effort even more relevant is that 2017 marks the U.S. Centennial Commemoration of World War I, which the nation entered on April 6, 1917.

“The Spirit of the Doughboy” statue is one of eight such monuments in New Jersey created by sculptor Ernest Moore Viquesney. Visible from the Route 35 bridge, the sculpture depicts a World War I infantryman advancing through the stumps and barbed wire of “No Man’s Land" with a rifle in his left hand and a grenade in his raised right hand.

Because the monument is made of pressed copper, Belmar Historical Society has run into difficulties obtaining bids for the repair project — receiving only one with a hefty $17,000 price tag from a company specializing in metalwork restoration.

Once the needed funds are raised to begin the repair project, officials have vowed that the work will include placing a light on the treasured monument, as well as a security camera.

To make a donation to the Save the Doughboy effort, visit Belmar’s website or call Belmar Historical Society at 908-309-3380.

Contributions, with checks payable to Belmar Historical Society for the Doughboy, also can be made at Belmar Museum, 900 E Street, Street (annex of the Union Firehouse), Belmar, which is open Monday, 2 to 4 p.m., and Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon. T-shirts can also be purchased at the museum.

Donations also can be mailed to Belmar Historical Society, P.O. Box A, Belmar, NJ 07719.


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