Two Hometown Heroes Honored in Calgary

On Saturday, June 4th, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Parks Canada, paid tribute to William H. Wilson and the late Paris K. Sahlen, through Parks Canada’s Hometown Heroes program. The commemorative ceremony was held in Calgary at the Military Museums in the presence of dignitaries and family members.

Captain (N) (Ret’d) William H. Wilson, OMM, CStJ, AEO, MSM, CD

William H. Wilson is an Officer of the Order of Military Merit and is known to his community in Calgary as “Mr. Navy”. Highlights of his remarkable naval background include service as an anti-aircraft gunner on HMCS Ottawa at D-Day in 1944, Commanding Officer of HMCS York naval reserve unit in Toronto and appointments as Honorary Captain (N) of the First Canadian Submarine Squadron at Halifax and Honorary Captain (N), West Coast Maritime Operations Group 4. Throughout his decades of service, Mr. Wilson has also made exceptional contributions to preserving Canada’s naval history and artifacts for future generations to study and appreciate. His dedication to educating youth was a driving force behind his support for Royal Canadian Sea Cadets and Navy League Cadets and his contributions to the creation of the Naval Museum of Alberta, opened in 1988, and later the Military Museums of Calgary, the largest tri-service museum in Western Canada. He was also instrumental in forging a special bond between the province of Alberta, the City of Calgary and HMCS Calgary.

Paris K. Sahlen, CD

Paris K. Sahlen left the Navy following a 4-year commitment, but his heart never left the service. He later joined the naval reserve in Calgary as an officer within #22 Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, and in this role, had a tremendous impact on many youths. Over a lifetime, his determination to help preserve and promote Canada’s rich naval heritage drew much of his attention. For decades, Mr. Sahlen was a mentor and a leader who devoted his time and energies to fostering connections between veterans, youth, and the Navy. Mr. Sahlen was a key figure in the creation of the Naval Museum of Alberta, and proudly served as unofficial liaison between the new frigate HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), from its 1995 commissioning onward, forging ties across the years and the miles between the ship’s company, its namesake city, and the entire Calgary naval community. Mr. Sahlen passed away in Calgary in December 2018.

William H. Wilson and Paris K. Sahlen join a growing list of Canadians who have been recognized for their contributions to the Canadian Military and for their dedication to help preserve and promote Canada’s naval heritage.

Launched in 2015, the Hometown Heroes program is a national initiative led by Parks Canada that recognizes and commemorates individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements or made outstanding contributions to the Canadian Military and who have a connection or association to places administered by Parks Canada or to the Parks Canada mandate to protect and present Canada’s history and natural heritage. To date, more than 130 Canadians from across the country have been recognized.

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