Rim Country Has First Honoree In Arizona Veterans Hall Of Fame

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Photo courtesy of Bill Sahno

Payson’s Bill Sahno, center, was inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame on Oct. 28 in Phoenix. Making the presentation were Secretary of State Ken Bennett, left, and Joey Strictland, director of the Arizona Office of Veterans Affairs.

It has been a couple of very busy weeks for Payson’s Bill Sahno.

He is the senior vice commandant for the Rim Country Marine Corps League Detachment. The League just had its big birthday celebration Nov. 5 and hosted about 200 people for dinner, a cake-cutting ceremony and program.

Sahno is chairman of the Payson Patriotic Events Committee which is presenting the big Veterans Day ceremony this Friday.

Oh, and then there was that other thing — Oct. 28, Sahno became the first Rim Country resident inducted into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame.

With all the veterans who make the Rim Country home, it’s a surprise it has taken 10 years for one to be specially honored.

The Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame started in 2001 and now Payson is finally represented among its honorees. Sahno was inducted with 16 others in Phoenix.

Sahno said the honor really is for all his fellow veterans and citizens of the Rim Country who have made his many community projects successful.

Recipients are selected for contributions outside or after military service, which provide inspiration to others.

“I am humbled and honored to be considered among those other outstanding American Patriots that were selected,” Sahno said.

“There are many, many more out there that do more than I and this recognition represents a reflection on them as well.

“As with all such awards, I shall accept it on behalf of those many who deserve it far more than I. I can also say that for my Department of Defense medals and awards as well. Each one that was awarded to me represents the supportive and collective effort of many. I am gratified to share this recognition with the community of Payson and our high country region.”

Sahno was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps in 1962. He served combat tours in Vietnam and in various command and staff positions around the world. He spent his final years of active duty in high level command and staff positions.

“My career highlight was serving as the Deputy Commander of the Defense Depot in Ogden, Utah,” Sahno said.

He played an active role in and in support of the Vietnam War, Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War.

He retired at Barstow, Calif., as a Colonel of the U.S. Marine Corps after 30 years of continuous active duty service.

He has resided in Payson since 1994. Over the years he has participated in a number of groups: the Payson Patriotic Events Committee, which he now chairs; the Rim Country Marine Corps League Detachment, of which he is currently senior vice commandant; Payson Satellite Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America; Department of Arizona Marine Corps League public relations committee chair; Operations American Patriot board member; he is also a former member of the advisory board for Payson Parks & Recreation and the editorial board of the Payson Roundup.

Sahno learned of his nomination to the Hall of Fame in July and was assigned former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley as a sponsor.

“Anyone can make a nomination and if it is accepted the nominee is assigned a sponsor to walk them through the process,” Sahno said.

He said the nomination process is explained on the Hall of Fame’s Web site.

The Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame has inducted 221 Arizona veterans since its inception in 2001 — 132 of them are still living, including four Medal of Honor recipients.

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