Community quickly raises $18,000 to refurbish 91-year-old WWI doughboy monument

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 4:32 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -One of the only remaining WWI doughboy monuments in the state is getting refurbished. WWI soldiers were called doughboys because of the way wet clay looked when it got on their uniforms. The 91-year-old monument in Mechanicsville is in serious need of restoration. The community acted fast to make it happen.

”There’s about 140 of them left nationwide, there was originally 400,” explained Tom Strickler, Commander for American Legion Post 309.

The doughboy is just one of two in Iowa. It stands high in Rose Hill cemetery where 346 veterans, including 86 from WWI, are buried.

”We had our first committee meeting about March, mid-March,” said Calvin Paup, committee member for the project with Post 309.

In just a few months’ time, the small town has raised $18,000 for the restoration on a goal of around $20,000.

”Money we have so far has mainly has come just out of citizen support,” Paup said.

That support continued on Monday morning as more than 30 people gathered in the cemetery to watch the monument be taken down to be hauled away to Ohio for repairs.

”We’re just going to provide a new copper sheet finish, so that’s a bright sort of penny finish to him with protective coating,” said Emmett Lodge, Vice President of McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory.

The goal is to have the monument back in time for Veterans Day. For some, just knowing the monument is being preserved is emotional.

”It’s very breathtaking,” Strickler said.

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