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Guilderland Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 16, 2010
Home Front Café soldier AWOL
By Jo E. Prout
ALTAMONT Home Front Café owner Cindy Pollard’s life-sized soldier statue is still missing from the lawn of her Main Street eatery. The fiberglass statue was stolen in late August.
Pollard’s husband thought the missing statue was taken as a fun prank, she said, and would be returned. Because the soldier was taken close to the same time as the last of the trucks from the Altamont Fair left the village, and it hasn’t been put back, Pollard thinks the soldier could be gone for good.
“Where it is, I don’t know,” she said.
Pollard was adamant that the Altamont Fair, itself, was not to blame for the incident.
“It’s just gone,” she said. The statue must have been carried off by more than one person, she said, as it weighed 300 pounds. Its fiberglass feet are still planted where it stood.
“He was a fierce-looking soldier. People first complained that he was too fierce,” Pollard said. “But he belonged there.”
Pollard said that she planted petunias by his feet to soften his image a bit. Schoolchildren and even older ladies came by to have their pictures taken with the soldier, she said.
Few residents noticed he was gone, Pollard said, until a local news station ran a story about the missing statue.
“I’d like to have it returned,” she said. “Here’s hoping it has a happy home someplace.”
Asked if she would replace the statue with something else, she joked, “I’ll probably plant more petunias next year.”
The newly-restructured Altamont Police Department has no media contact person, according to an e-mail sent by Mayor James Gaughan, the new supervisor of the department. In response to phone messages from The Enterprise left with the mayor and at the police department, Gaughan said to e-mail questions.
Responding through e-mail to questions about the missing statue, Gaughan wrote, “Unfortunately, the statue is still missing. There has been…media coverage, which we hope will produce good results. We consider this incident seriously, and are working hard to successfully resolve [it].”
Pollard’s small Armed Forces-themed restaurant has expanded to twice its size since it first opened nearly a decade ago, and has become a local landmark, with its tank and other replicas parked outside. Pollard has hosted local World War II veterans who have talked to schoolchildren about their experiences.
The soldier had become a part of the café before he was stolen, she said. “It was kind of fun,” she said.
“It’s always sad when that happens,” Pollard said. “Pranks don’t always have happy endings.”