Monument to fallen local war veteran restored

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Photos by Tom Tigani
Allen Park resident Larry Peter (top) of the American Legion Riders based at Post 478 in Southgate holds on while the adhesive sets beneath the bronzed rifle and helmet of U.S. Army Sgt. Craig Frank at Thursday’s rededication of the monument at Lincoln Park’s Memorial Park. Second from top, Mike Petrucci, owner of Fine Arts Sculpture Center of Clarkston, spreads the adhesive. Local veterans lauded the work of Police Chief Thomas Karnes (above) and his department in recovering the items after they were found stolen Jan. 26.

By TOM TIGANI
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — Officials, veterans and onlookers gathered Thursday for the rededication of a monument at the Veterans of Foreign Wars display at Memorial Park, 3148 Fort St.

The event marked the return of a bronzed rifle and helmet that were stolen off the monument, which was built last year to honor U.S. Army Sgt. Craig Frank, a 1997 Lincoln Park High School graduate who was killed in Iraq in 2004. Police recovered the items earlier this month; they were discovered missing Jan. 26.

“This restoration would not have been possible,” Mayor Frank Vaslo told the group, “except for a citizen who stepped up and got involved. It’s further proof of what a great community we have in Lincoln Park.”

Free repairs to the missing items were made by Fine Arts Sculpture Center of Clarkston. Owner Mike Petrucci said he read about the theft and wanted to do something to help.

He said neither item was too badly damaged, and that the barrel of the gun and the straps on the helmet had to be straightened. A set of Frank’s dog tags that were part of the monument were left intact.

A new mounting plate also was installed, he said. Petrucci said his company normally charges $500 to $600 for such repairs, which in this case took approximately six hours. Fine Arts also has done work on other war memorials in the Downriver area.

James Bowens, chairman of a committee to raise money for the restoration, said the money saved on the repairs would be put toward a video surveillance system to stand guard over the monument to Frank and other parts of the memorial display.

Police Chief Thomas Karnes said because the boy who is believed to have taken the items with the intent of selling them for scrap is only 15 years old, he will recommend community service as punishment. That service, he said, would take the form of maintenance work at other Downriver veterans memorials.