By Ray O’Hanlon
The countdown to the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade had reached just four days and there was neither hide nor tail of the grand marshal’s medallion.
The gold medallion, to be worn by the grand marshal, Cardinal Edward Egan, had been struck in North Attleboro, Mass., and was supposedly on its way, via UPS, to the Queens business office of parade executive secretary Jim Barker.
Barker became worried. The parade was looming. He phoned Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. It was 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 12.
The medallion is struck each year by Creative Model and Design of North Attleboro.
It is made of 14-carat gold and other metals and is worth about $1,400.
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Barker told Brown that Creative Model and Design had sent the medallion via United Parcel Service addressed to him on March 7 and that it was supposed to have been delivered to him at his office.
The current UPS advertising slogan, “What Can Brown Do for You,” was looking more appropriate by the minute
Barker told Brown that the package had not shown up and that he was now concerned because it was far too late to obtain a duplicate.
According to a spokesman for Brown, Pat Clark, the district attorney, reassured Barker, telling him not to worry because he would launch an immediate investigation.
And that he did.
He directed the chief assistant district attorney, John M. Ryan, and the deputy executive assistant district attorney for investigations, Michael J. Mansfield — both Irish Americans who would be especially sensitive to the matter — to commence a search.
And that they did.
Less than two hours later, shortly before 11 a.m., the medallion was found, a few doors away from Barker’s office, in the custody of a man resident there.
The man, also Irish American, told the D.A.’s men that a UPS driver had given him the package containing the medallion to pass along to Barker because Barker’s office had been closed when the driver tried to make a delivery.