READFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- This story starts in April 2011 when a group of students from Maranacook High School visited Rhone American Cemetery in France as part of an exchange program.
While there, a tour guide asked if they could find out more information about the soldiers from Maine who are buried there. So with a few names, serial numbers, and dates of death, the students set out to find out more about the men buried there.
Two years later, a sophomore girl named Sydney Green was able to visit the cemetery and share the story of George Arsenault, a teenager from Rumford who was one of 15 children and died in battle on August 15, 1944.
George was only 17 years old when he left home and journeyed overseas during World War II. His family was able to keep in touch with him through letters, some they still have today. After months of research and a series of fortuitous events, Sydney was finally able to track down Leo and find out more about his brother. Sydney's efforts are incredibly moving to Leo who says the loss of his brother is still very painful.
"You know, teenagers? Good grief. Taking the time to get out there and do this, and pay their respects to, like I said...they didn't know him from nothing," Leo Arsenault said. "It's mind boggling to me."
"I know that I didn't appreciate as much before as I do now, probably," Maranacook sophomore Sydney Green, said. "It really has opened my eyes into...it's real. It's not just something you read about in a textbook."
At a ceremony in May at Maranacook, Sydney was able to present Leo and the rest of the Arsenault Family with a picture of George's gravesite in Rhone along with two flags that had been in the ground there. Leo says, he's forever moved by what Sydney accomplished, and he'll never forget what she's done for him and his family.