By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — A donor has stepped forward and pledged to match all funds raised for the Doughboy Monument Restoration up to $7,000 between now and April 1, providing a significant boost to the project’s fundraising efforts.
During the past few months, the Amesbury Veterans’ Memorials Restoration Committee has been seeking donations to help fund a complete restoration of the Doughboy. The funds raised would be used to clean the monument and its three panels, and also repair damage caused by acid rain and natural wear and tear.
Though the committee’s efforts initially generated hopeful buzz around town, the fundraising effort itself failed to gain much traction. Two weeks ago, the committee announced that it had only raised $7,000 — well short of its $20,000 goal — and that, unless things picked up, it was unlikely the group would be able to raise the money in time to hold the rededication ceremony in May, as planned.
Upon hearing about the committee’s struggles, the donors, who have chosen to remain anonymous, reached out to committee co-chairman Paul Jancewicz and offered to pledge the matching funds.
“We heard about it from the story in The Daily News,” said the donor, who lives in Amesbury with his wife and has kids in the school system. The donor added that they settled on the $7,000 figure because if the committee raised that amount, then the match would put them over the top to meet their fundraising goal.
Rosemary Werner, one of the volunteers behind the restoration effort, said the committee is extremely grateful for the donor’s generosity and is hopeful that the community can rally together and take full advantage of the gift. She added that since the last newspaper article, the committee has seen a surge in donations to bring their total to $9,000, and she is hopeful they can go beyond the $20,000 goal to fund additional monument restorations in the future.
“This is why I want to push because all the money goes into that restoration fund,” Werner said. “We have 18 more monuments that we have to do, so this will be an ongoing project and the first will be the biggest one, the Doughboy.”
The Doughboy — which was sculpted by Leonard Craske, who is most famous for crafting The Fisherman in Gloucester — was originally dedicated on Armistice Day in 1929. The monument originally cost $25,000, which was a huge sum of money at the time, but despite having been moved three times since its completion, it has received little upkeep, causing it to deteriorate significantly.
Werner said the goal is for the restoration to be completed by May so the rededication ceremony could coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. In addition to the statue restoration itself, the funds raised will also help fund some landscaping improvements and lighting around the monument.
Donations can be made payable to the Amesbury Veterans’ Memorials Restoration Committee at P.O. Box 333, Amesbury, 01913. The committee is composed of co-chairmen Jancewicz and Ski Iworsky, Werner, Frances Justin, Karen Baptiste, Bob Evans, Ruth Genova, Kathy Lucy and Mary Therrien.