Wentworth Military Academy alumni fighting to save Doughboy stat - KCTV5

Wentworth Military Academy alumni fighting to save Doughboy statue from auction

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Alumni of recently-closed Wentworth Military Academy are fighting in court to stop the auction of a World War I Doughboy statue that’s been on campus for more than 90 years. (KCTV5) Alumni of recently-closed Wentworth Military Academy are fighting in court to stop the auction of a World War I Doughboy statue that’s been on campus for more than 90 years. (KCTV5)

LEXINGTON, MO (KCTV5) – Alumni of recently-closed Wentworth Military Academy are fighting in court to stop the auction of a World War I Doughboy statue that’s been on campus for more than 90 years.

Wentworth was founded in 1880 in Lexington, Missouri and was closed this spring due to financial problems.

According to Wentworth Alumni Association president Scott Hefner, Bank Midwest holds liens and is planning an auction for Oct. 7 with Oldham Auctions. The Doughboy is listed on the auction inventory.

“The bank is treating this like a piece of furniture and this isn’t. It says on the plaques that this is dedicated by the alumni, not gifted,” said Hefner.

The Wentworth Alumni Association says the Doughboy doesn’t belong to Bank Midwest or Wentworth, but instead, the association paid for and dedicated the Doughboy in 1923.

The Doughboy was dedicated in memory of 16 Wentworth cadets who died in World War I. It later became a monument to all alumni and veterans who died fighting for American freedom.

Hefner told KCTV5 the statue is a part of the Wentworth culture. All freshman were required to salute him and had to stay 12 feet away as they passed. They were also forbidden from walking behind the Doughboy.

“It was about respect,” said Hefner.

The academy’s closing is heart breaking for all the “old boys” - that’s a nickname for all alumni who’ve passed through Wentworth.

“It’s like a death in the family. There’s no question about it,” said Wentworth alum Jim Sellers.

Sellers has strong family ties to the military academy. His great-great-grandfather Stephen Wentworth founded the school; his great-grandfather Sandford Sellers was superintendent from 1880 to 1938; his grandfather was president from 1920 to 1990; his father was superintendent from 1973 to 1990; and his brother was superintendent from 2008 to 2013.

Sellers said its been hard coping with the loss of his family legacy. He just wants this one piece of history, the Doughboy, preserved.

“It just breaks our heart to think of the fact that it might be sold to the highest bidder on behalf of a bank that claims owners, where we feel that claim is specious,” said Sellers.

There is a court hearing on Tuesday morning at the Lafayette County Courthouse in Lexington. The alumni group is asking for a temporary restraining order, preventing the Doughboy from being auctioned off, while a lawsuit is pending.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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