UPDATE...720,000 Bottle Caps: one for each Civil War death

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WESTOVER, W.Va (WDTV) -- Back in August, I brought you the story of a local teacher who is on a mission: to collect 720,000 bottle caps, one for each soldier killed during the Civil War.

This is Mr. Phil Caskey - a history teacher at Westwood Middle School in Westover, and also the 2016 recipient of the American Battlefield Trust's Teacher of the Year.

Mr. Caskey has always wanted to quantify the number 720,000 for his students. He believes that just telling his students the number is not enough - he wants to show them what 720,000 really looks like.

"The big thing that I want to point out is that it will be student-led, student-driven." Mr. Caskey claims. He added that "The students here will be the backbone of the progress of the work, of counting, and also creating the project. So that has some meaning there."

He has gotten support from his students, some of them taking great interest in the project!

Mr. Caskey that after his classes, "Several of them [the students] will know that they can get an extra point or two on a quiz or a test, and I know who my future bean counters are going to be because they immediately want to come back to start counting. So it's a pretty cool project to see."

He also from the community, including Twins, LLC, who lent him storage space for about 400,000 of his bottle caps. Some of these bottle caps have come from as far away as Alabama, Maine and Wisconsin.

As of Wednesday, September 11th, Mr. Caskey has about 500,000 bottle caps collected; but his goal is 720,000. When he reaches the goal, he told us that he has a few plans.

"We're looking at some sort of photo mosaics that might have Abraham Lincoln or Civil War soldiers in them." Mr. Caskey said. "Some sort of panels that can flow in the wind, an anchor somewhere on the side of a building maybe...We are still coming up some concepts there."

I am Timothy Albertson keeping you connected.