BELMAR, NJ — Add another $1,000 to the collection bucket to repair Belmar’s “The Spirit of the Doughboy” statue. Two local veterans groups have donated to the worthy cause.
Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Harold Daley Post 1333 of Asbury Park and Post 1838 of Manasquan visited the statue on August 13 to each present a $500 check to Belmar Historical Society for the restoration project. Their contributions bring the total amount raised to $9,700 to repair the 87-year-old monument, which was vandalized in September 2016 causing an estimated $17,000 in damage.
About 20 people attended the presentation of checks held in front of the statue, which stands in Memorial Field on West Railroad Avenue. It came on the heels of a benefit concert held on August 8, which brought in nearly $5,700 through ticket and T-shirt sales and raffles for the "Save the Doughboy" effort. More than 200 people gathered at the Shillelagh Club in Belmar for that event, headlined by the Pat Roddy Band and supported by nearly 30 restaurants and businesses that donated food, gifts cards and raffle prizes. In addition, another $2,950 has been raised through a dedicated link to “Donate to Repair the Doughboy Statue” on Belmar’s website.
Erected in 1930 by the American Legion of Belmar then to recognize 102 borough residents who served in World War I, the statue is one of eight such monuments in New Jersey created by sculptor Ernest Moore Viquesney. Visible from the Route 35 bridge in what is commonly known as Doughboy Park, 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.
When it was vandalized, a portion of the rifle was broken off and it was loosened from its base. No one has been arrested for causing the damage.
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, 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. :Save the Doughboy" 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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