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West Liberty Doughboy Returns to Post

Reported by: Melanie Kendall
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Updated: 3/22 6:41 pm

It’s been a little more than two years since a deadly tornado tore through West Liberty.

Saturday, the town got its doughboy back.

The doughboy is a statue of a World War I solider that stood outside the Morgan County Courthouse.  It was ripped from its pedestal and broken into several pieces during the tornado.

“It was a little after five pm when he saw the horrendous cloud of the tornado coming out of the west toward him,” said Lynn Nickell, the self-described West Liberty Historian.

Nickell explains that the doughboy stood his post and watched the tornado come through the valley, into West Liberty.

After 87 years of guarding West Liberty, he was blown from the pedestal at the same time at the clock tower was blown off the court house.

Nickell said the community collected his pieces and the doughboy statue was put back together over the past two years.

Sunday, he retook his post defending West Liberty and helping it to rebuild.

“People that have lived here their whole lives will all of a sudden peripherally see him back on this pedestal and may be taken back a little bit and say OK we're on our way to recovery,” said Stephen Tirone, one of the sculptors who helped restore the statue.

If you look closely you can still see where the statue broke, scars of battle, as a reminder of what happened March 2, 2012.  

“They wanted to show his wounds that he experienced in this tornado,” said Eddie Horton, the other sculptor who helped restore the statue.

“We will rise from the rubble, lick our wounds, and fight on with the doughboy leading the charge until our city is restored,” said Nickell.

The doughboy statue has been in West Liberty since 1927.  It is one of 134 statues in the country that’s still in existence today.

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