WADSWORTH — A beloved relic of the city’s past will be in place in time for Wadsworth’s Memorial Day celebration as planned, officials said Wednesday.
Mayor Robin Laubaugh said the “Boy with the Boot” statue will be unveiled and dedicated before Wadsworth’s parade Monday morning.
“It’s an opportunity to pay respect to those who have served our community well and to give a nod to our culture and history,” she said.
The statue was a prominent part of the city’s downtown until it was melted to provide metal for the war effort during World War II.
Sandusky city officials agreed to loan a replica of their own “Boy with the Boot” statue to the Sculptors Guild to make a duplicate statue for Wadsworth.
Laubaugh said retired sculptor Jim Havens of the Toledo Area Sculptors Guild did the work,
“He was retired from the craft, but he decided just to do one more project, because he heard the story and said it touched him,” she said.
Havens had Sandusky’s statue from October through March so he could make a mold and cast a new 4- foot-tall statue in bronze.
Construction crews worked Wednesday on the fountain structure where the statue will be mounted.
Laubaugh said the statue will be mounted on the fountain Friday but will not be unveiled until Monday’s ceremony.
The 20-minute dedication will provide background on the statue, thank the people involved and honor local military veterans who died in foreign wars. Those heroes’ names are cast on plaques at the base of the fountain.
“We are encouraging all of our veterans in particular to attend and to participate in the parade at 10:30,” Laubaugh said.
Laubaugh said there’s a long list of people, businesses and organizations that made the statue’s return possible, including Bill Alexander and the local American Legion post.
Alexander’s company, AK Construction, donated the concrete work and materials for the fountain and sidewalk, as well as a piece of granite behind the fountain that will commemorate the city’s bicentennial celebration this year and the statue’s return.
The American Legion gave a donation to get the project started and provided the memorial plaques to honor the fallen soldiers.
Laubaugh said the schools also held a penny drive that provided a substantial amount of money toward for the $27,000 project.
“We didn’t have to ask for money. It just came, and that really shows the commitment of the community,” she said.