Since 1947, the Province of Saskatchewan has named more than 4,000 geographical landmarks in honour of fallen heroes, many of whom were members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), under the GeoMemorial Commemorative Naming Program.
“The GeoMemorial Commemorative Naming Program is in place to honour the sacrifices of Saskatchewan citizens who have given their lives in service of their province or country by naming various national geographical features in their memory,” said Carlos Gernann, Director of Heritage Conservation Branch with Saskatchewan Ministry of Arts, Culture and Sport.
A multiple range of geographical features are named after these fallen heroes including lakes, rivers, streams, sand dunes and beaches.
“From my perspective, it’s certainly the right thing to do for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Frankly, it’s the least governments can do to recognize their contribution and sacrifice,” expressed Gernann.
The program honours soldiers from the First World War to recent conflicts like the War in Afghanistan.
Earlier this year, the Government of Saskatchewan recognized three soldiers from the First and Second World Wars. Gordon Lake was named after Private First Class Lawrence Samuel Gordon who was killed in France in 1944; Machan Lake, was named after Private James Clyde Machan killed during Passnchendael in Nov. 1917; and Dreveny Lake was named after Sgt. Pavel Dreveny who was in the Royal Canadian Air Force and was killed in 1944 after his plane crashed due to heavy fog.
“This GeoMemorial is not only very important to me, but to my children as well. It brings the events of the past closer to home, knowing our great uncle will forever be remembered in this way. Hopefully, they will pass this appreciation on to their children in the future,” stated nephew of Sargent Pavel (Paul) Dreveny, Scott Dreveny, in a press release.
Last year, three lakes were also named after fallen soldiers from the War in Afghanistan: Goddard Lake for Capt. Nichola Goddard, killed in 2006; Anderson Lake, named after Cpl. Jordan Anderson who was killed in Panjwaii in 2007; and Greff Lake, recognized Master Cpl. Bryon Greff who was killed in Kabul in 2011.
Names are nominated, many times by families, and are approved by Gernann’s department. Nominees must have lived or been born in the province. After approval names are officially entered in the database and then sent to Ottawa to be included in any future maps of the region.
The program not only honours fallen soldiers but also honours the families of the fallen.
‘The program means so much to families that bring these nominations forward. It’s remarkable. I’ve talked to many of them. It’s very emotional for them to know governments are paying attention and really recognize and appreciate their sacrifice,” noted Gernann.
In 2006, the program expanded to include various first responders such as police officers and emergency responders.
To learn more about the Geo-Memorial Commemorative Naming program or to nominate someone visit the Government of Saskatchewan’s website.