Former Marine Corps Col. Bill Sahno last week received an award for his work on behalf of veterans and the community from the Payson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Vietnam combat veteran retired from the Marines 20 years ago and has since devoted himself to work on behalf of veterans statewide, including playing a leading role in organizing Payson’s annual Memorial Day celebrations.
The group gathered to present Sahno with the National Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution.
In his letter of recommendation, retired Col. Duane Newton said: “There really are no adequate words to describe what Col. Bill Sahno USMC (Ret) has done for his country and our community,” including like personally finding housing for homeless vets.”
Sahno has been doing this for the veterans in Payson for the last 20 years, extending his reach into the Valley and beyond with a newsletter and blog.
As chairman of the Rim Country Patriotic Committee, he has helped plan programs for Memorial Day in Green Valley Park, 4th of July at three different locations and Veterans Day at the high school auditorium for each of the past 20 years. He has also for years personally put American flags out along Main Street on holidays.
He also raised money for the Payson Veterans Memorial, which recognizes those men and women in the five branches of service from Arizona who gave their supreme sacrifice for their country. He also played a key role in bringing an 80 percent size replica of the Vietnam Wall to Payson, which drew thousands of people to Green Valley Park.
Sahno has involved himself with an extensive array of key people, organizations and activities, both within and outside his local community and region, which earned him induction into the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame in 2011.
In accepting the award, Sahno told the gathered crowd, “I humbly accept this recognition on behalf of the many American patriots out there who work tirelessly for the betterment of the communities and our nation. Furthermore, I accept this recognition on behalf of the many American veterans — American patriots — who from the days of the Revolutionary War until today lie in places around the globe, from Arlington cemetery in Washington to forgotten atolls in the South Pacific. It is they who have offered the supreme sacrifice, it is they to whom we owe a debt which cannot never be repaid. It is because of them we are able to be here this evening.
“Since the days of the American Revolution until today we have managed to keep the candle of patriotism alive and well. You are doing that today. I salute you for your efforts and, more than ever, our nation needs people like you to keep that candle lit.”