WHEELING, WV (WTRF)- Since 1931, a World War I monument has been standing at Wheeling Park. The doughboy statue was dedicated to honoring all veterans and their families. One local historian spoke about its importance to the Ohio Valley and what you can do to help it be a part of the future.
There used to be over 300 doughboy statues in the country, now only 150 are left, and 4 of them are in West Virginia. The doughboy statue is nearly 90 years old. So vandalism, weathering, and a missing rifle has lead to it being refurbished right now. But it’s an expensive process.
The city is contributing, but better landscaping, lighting, accessibility, and presentation is desired. If you would like to donate any amount, mail a check to the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley at 1226 Chapline Street, Wheeling, WV. Please write Wheeling Doughboy Restoration Fund in the memo line. And, if you have a veteran you want to dedicate it to,
write their name, rank, and what service branch they were in. You can also donate online by searching for “dough fund me wheeling”, there you will find a link to a gofundme site.
Sean Duffy, the Adult Programming Coordinator at Ohio County Public Library, said, “This statue really belongs to the Wheeling people, it was given to the park back in 1931 by the Service Star Legion, who were mothers of soldiers who had served in the war and I think they wanted it to be a foot soldier, he represents the common solider so he’s like the majority of the veterans who serve, and I think of him because he’s so familiar as an iconic symbol of Wheeling.”
The restorations are underway now, it is expected to be re-dedicated in the same spot in Wheeling Park by Memorial Day.