WHEELING - Wheeling native Courtney Micker is seeking help to restore a statue he describes as West Virginia's oldest Civil War monument.
Known as the Soldiers Monument, the 25-ton piece features a soldier, a sailor and a fighting lady liberty of sorts and is located atop a hill in Wheeling Park.
Micker, 22, was so taken with the statue that when he was 12 years old, he decided to start a nonprofit to help restore it - the Soldiers Monument Restoration Fund.
Photo by Shelley Hanson
Wheeling native Courtney Micker stands with the Civil War monument at Wheeling Park that he is trying to restore.
"I was reading about the Civil War at an early age when I noticed it at the park," Micker said.
At that time, the monument had spraypaint on it, and its granite slabs needed repointed.
"It was just rotting away," he said.
Micker eventually hired a company to do the work, but after three years some of it has not held up and other portions remain unfinished. Micker said if the faulty work issues can't be resolved with that company, he likely will hire another. He is in the process of partnering with a professional restoration firm owned by a West Virginia native. However, more money will be needed for the endeavor. And he also plans to restore monuments across the United States.
"It's a very important monument," Micker said.
According to an inscription, the monument is dedicated "To the defenders of the Union. 1861-1865." It was erected by the Soldiers Aid Society of Wheeling in 1880. It originally was located in downtown Wheeling, but it later was moved to Wheeling Park.
It is also inscribed with Civil War battles: Rich Mountain, Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Cloyd Mountain, Opequan and Appomattox.
Micker, a 2008 Linsly School graduate, moved to Los Angeles in August, where he is acting and modeling. But his foundation is headquartered at his parents' home address in Wheeling. For more information or to make donations, write or send checks to: Soldiers Monument Restoration Fund, care of Courtney Micker, 234 GC&P Road, Wheeling, WV 26003.