ENID, Okla. — A local Eagle Scout project aims to restore the Statue of Liberty replica to its pedestal on the Garfield County Court House lawn.
The statue has been absent from its pedestal since a storm knocked it down, damaging the torch and arm, in July 2014.
A gift to the community from the Boy Scouts of America in 1950, the statue is made of thin metal and suffered deep cracks and splits along some of its seams when it fell from its plinth. Parts of the torch and the statue's arms also were heavily damaged in the 2014 storm.
Previous efforts to repair the statue were stymied by a lack of artists skilled in working with its soft copper material, and the cost to recreate the statue.
The Garfield County Clerk's Office undertook a search for a feasible repair in 2017, but the closest they came was a company that said they could make a mold of the statue, then make a new statue from the mold. However, the cost of just making the mold was $30,000.
Now, Jaden Jenkins, a candidate for Eagle Scout with Cimarron Council BSA, has put together a plan to have the stature repaired and placed back on its pedestal for a third of that cost.
The statue was a gift from the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts of the Great Salt Plains Council, predecessor to today’s Cimarron Council. Scouts collected enough money to purchase and install the statue. The original cost of the replica was $360, according to a press release.
Enid's statue was part of a nationwide celebration of the Boy Scouts of America’s 40th anniversary, which began with a torch lighting ceremony beneath the original statue in New York City.
"The idea was to place small-scale replicas of the Statue of Liberty throughout the USA," according to a press release. The 8 1/2 foot tall statues were officially named “Little Sisters of Liberty.”
About 200 statues were placed across the country. Today, only about half remain. In addition to Enid, Oklahoma towns that received statues were Blackwell, Chickasha, Edmond, Lindsay, Miami, Muskogee, Oklahoma City, Tahlequah and Wewoka.
“For so many years, the statue graced the courthouse lawn,” said Bobby Schultz, scout executive. “It’s great to see a young man who has the patriotism and determination to bring it back.”
Renovation work on the statue already is underway, Schultz said. The original pole and wood base the statue was built around rotted away over the years, leading to its tumble in 2014.
Jenkins has disassembled the base, and is working with a donor in Enid to solder the original seams and to repair the damage from 2014.
A separate donor in Stillwater is providing the labor to build a new steel base for the statue, in place of its original wood base.
Jenkins, who is a citizen of the United States, the United Kingdom and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, said he's honored to work on a statue that embodies diversity and inclusiveness.
“Now more than ever, it’s important to believe in what the Statue of Liberty represents,” Jenkins said. “It stands for freedom. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. We come from different backgrounds and have had different experiences. We should use them to make our country even better. If we work together, the best days of our country are still ahead.”
Schultz said Jenkins is "cranking along" on the project, and hopes to have it restored and installed some time in October.
Donated use of a bucket truck or crane still is needed to complete the statue's reinstallation.
Jenkins is collecting donations to fund the restoration project through a GoFundMe campaign at https://www.gofundme.com/f/strengthening-the-arm-of-liberty and donations are being accepted at the Cimarron Council office, 317 North Grand, Enid, OK 73701.