Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Blaney said while the French crew members were furious because the added weight slowed them down, Schreiber was feted as a hero in Europe.
"They put him on a boat back to Portland," said Blaney, who later shared a correspondence with Schreiber.
The Old Orchard Beach Historical Society and the Maine Aviation Historical Society installed the monument in 1971 in Memorial Park. The medallion's disappearance was discovered about a year later.
Then suddenly it resurfaced last year. Loren Harmon of Kennebunk, a retired airplane mechanic, was at his shop at the Biddeford airport when a friend walked in with another man carrying a flat brass object depicting an airplane.
"The fellow said he had found it in his deceased father's garage, and his father was a junk collector. He was curious about it," said Harmon.
Harmon called his friend Norman Houle, founding member of the Maine Aviation Historical Society.
"Norm is a major aviation historian and he loves a mystery," said Harmon.
Houle paid a visit to Old Orchard Beach's Libby Memorial Library, where a librarian directed him to the monument. Harmon said it was immediately obvious that the mystery object was the missing medallion.
The monument was not in great shape. In 2005 a gazebo was built right next to it with the monument facing into the gazebo. Shrubbery had grown around it.
It took about a year to have the 2,000-pound rock monument turned around the right way and refurbished. The medallion has been bolted sturdily into its rightful place.
It was rededicated at a small ceremony Wednesday.
"It was a wonderful feeling to bring the monument back," said Harmon.