Stolen Huskie statue set to rejoin the Huskies on Parade


Sean Reed

“A Huskie statue outside of the Peters Campus Life Building overlooking the intersection of Normal Road and Lucinda Avenue. Oorah, a Huskie Statue outside of the Doherty Law Firm, was stolen last year, leading the firm’s owner to work with a local art teacher to recreate the statue. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

By Michael Mollsen, Written Managing Editor

DeKALB – Oorah, the name of a stolen Huskie statue, is the Marine Corps cheer of enthusiasm and devotion – it’s also what DeKalb will be saying because the statue is coming back.

The Huskies on Parade project is a community driven art project meant to bring together the NIU and DeKalb area in remembrance of the Feb. 14, 2008 mass shooting.

The project consists of Huskie statues created by local artists with the help of nearby businesses and individuals.

The Doherty Law Firm located at 125 First St. The Huskie Statue Oorah used to sit atop the white block in front of the firm. (Bridgette Fox | Northern Star) (Bridgette Fox)

Oorah was the Doherty Law Firm’s Huskie statue which was located at 125 First St. on a pedestal by the firm’s business sign.

With no leads on the stolen statue, Tom Doherty reached out to Samantha Butkus, an art teacher at the DeKalb High School, who is going to work with the Doherty Law Firm to recreate Oorah.

The original statue was designed by Doherty, lawyer, owner of Doherty Law Firm and former Marine. The statue was painted by local DeKalb High School art teacher Tricia Schumacher.

Oorah’s owner Doherty enlisted in the Corps in 1966 prior to owning his law firm.

Half of the Huskie was painted orange and blue with an eagle surrounded by the Marine Corps motto “Semper Fidelis” which means always faithful, to acknowledge support for the U.S. Marines.

The other half was painted to acknowledge the community and university, portraying a vibrant landscape of DeKalb with a sunset, stalks of corn and a river as well as NIU buildings such as Altgeld Hall.

Oorah stood united with the community in front of Doherty Law Firm for 15 years before the statue was stolen Nov. 15.

Doherty and the rest of the firm received a video from the Egyptian Theatre which caught footage of several people in a red truck lifting the statue which sat on a concrete slab and roll away with it.

“I hope that the police find the thieves before the Marines do,” Doherty said with a laugh. “It’s just a shame that somebody would steal it. I don’t know what else to say.”

Jill Doherty, wife of Tom Doherty, posted about the incident to Facebook and received over 150 likes and 230 shares. “Restore DeKalb,” a DeKalb community-based page, even offered a $500 reward for information that aids in the return of the stolen Huskie statue.

Butkus grew up in Sycamore and is an NIU alum. She recalled seeing the Huskie statues pop-up when she was younger after the 2008 tragedy and is now going to have the opportunity to create her own.

“Knowing that professional artists were the ones that were decorating them and painting them and now years later, I am the professional artist doing one, that’s a really cool full circle moment for me,” Butkus said.

All of the Huskie statues came with a miniature version, so Butkus is planning to use the mini version to sketch out the design of the new statue.

“Being a different artist, there might be slight differences because it’s hard to replicate somebody else’s work,” Butkus said. “But we communicated that, and it’s going to be as close as I can get to the original.”

Butkus is in the beginning phase of the project but plans to begin painting within the month. Soon, the Doherty’s and residents will have the new Oorah.

“We support the community, and we’re hoping to get Oorah back in place so people can enjoy it again,” Jill Doherty said.

In addition to Oorah, other statues are available to be seen across the DeKalb community. Their names and locations are featured on the Huskies on Parade website.