Committee raising money to restore World War I doughboy statue
HERRIN, IL – It’s a mission to restore a piece of history. A statue of a World War I doughboy in Herrin, Illinois, which is more than 90 years old, is deteriorating. A nonprofit is raising money to restore it.
There are more than 100 doughboy statues in the United States. The one in Herrin stands across the street from the local city hall. Army veteran Dan Finke said he remembers what the doughboy statue meant to him as a child.
“It was a special symbol of patriotism that this area has for veterans,” said Finke.
Doughboy was the name given to American soldiers in World War I. Herrin Doughboy Committee Chairman Charles Parola said the statue has been moved several times — each time causing more damage. “They put it downtown, then acid rain from the all the coal fire. They moved it to the city park, then the chlorine from the pool,” said Parola.
Now, concrete in the base of the statue is eating through it. That’s why the committee is raising more than $30,000 to restore it. “The restoration itself will be to open it up, take the concrete out, put some type of new balance in, reseal it,” said Parola.
The plaque with the statue that bears a list of names of veterans who died while in the service will also be restored as well.
Finke said he’s happy that the restoration will ensure the statue stays around for other generations to enjoy. “We are blessed to have so many opportunities for ceremonies there. I’m so pleased that the committee has been successful in raising the funds to get restored to its previous condition,” said Finke.
They are planning to have the project done before Veterans Day. They hope to sign a contract with a metal artist next week. The committee plans to host a rib and sides fundraiser. For more information call Charles Parola at 618-988-8055.