By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
On October 3, Deputy Reeve Miyanaga, Councillor Reynolds, together with Enchant Library Manager Sharon Hagen & Legion member Ed Unser unveiled the Enchant War Mural.
“The ceremony unveiling the mural in honour of the soldiers who did not return from WWI and WWII was a poignant and heartfelt event,” Deputy Reeve Tamara Miyanaga said. “It brought together the community of Enchant and various dignitaries to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by these brave individuals. The ceremony involved speeches, presentations, and a ceremonial unveiling of the mural itself.”
The mural itself, Miyanaga says, is located in Enchant, Alta., and serves as a prominent reminder of the community’s dedication to honouring those who served their country.
“The mural features four individuals who did not return home to Enchant, and their names are inscribed on the artwork,” Miyanaga said. “The four soldiers commemorated on the mural are Clarence Howg (1922-1944) who was killed in action on July 25, 1944 at the age of 22, TRP Rae Stamp who lost his life at Vimy Ridge in 1917, PTE Anton Malm (1894-1918) who died of influenza in England on October 24, 1918 at the age of 24, and SPR Wilbur H. Gillespie who was killed in action on June 7, 1944.”
The project, Miyanaga says, was made possible through generous grants and donations from various sources, including Veterans Affairs Canada, the Enchant Recreation Association, the MD of Taber, the Enchant Library Board, and donations from the public.
“It truly reflects the community’s collective effort to ensure that the sacrifices made by these soldiers are never forgotten,” Miyanaga said. “The Enchant and surrounding area has a rich history of military service, with many individuals serving in various branches of the military. This mural serves as a symbol of gratitude and remembrance for their sacrifices.”
Miyanaga says that Sharon Hagen, the Enchant Library Manager, was recognized and appreciated for her remarkable efforts and vision in helping to bring this memorial to fruition.
“The people of Enchant and the surrounding area hold this memorial in high regard, as it pays homage to the unsung heroes of war who often carried their honour silently and without seeking recognition,” Miyanaga said. “The mural is not only appreciated for its artistic beauty but also for the detailed representation of history, including coat of arms, equipment, the flag, poppies, and other elements that tell the stories of the soldiers and the wartime era.”
The mural, Hagen says, was designed and painted by Bernadette LeCaineFrench, a First Nations artist from Brooks, Alberta. Hagen emphasizes that LeCaineFrench’s artistic talents, especially her proficiency in acrylic painting on various surfaces, were crucial in creating this beautiful piece of art.
“I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who contributed to the creation of this remarkable mural, especially Bernadette LeCaineFrench, whose artistic talent brought our vision to life,” Hagen said. “This mural is a joint project with Veterans Affairs Canada, and it serves as both an educational tool and a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made to safeguard the freedoms we cherish today. It showcases the stories of four brave individuals from our community who did not return from WWI and WWII: Clarence Howg, TRP Rae Stamp, PTE Anton Malm, and SPR Wilbur H. Gillespie. Their service and sacrifice, along with that of countless others, should never be forgotten. We are immensely grateful for the support from Veterans Affairs Canada, the Enchant Recreation Association, the MD of Taber, the Enchant Library Board, and the generous public donations that made this project possible.”
Miyanaga emphasizes that the Enchant War Mural and the unveiling ceremony serve as a lasting tribute to the brave men and women who served their country during WWI and WWII.
“This project, a collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada, beautifully conveys the stories of Clarence Howg, TRP Rae Stamp, PTE Anton Malm, and SPR Wilbur H. Gillespie, reminding us of their ultimate sacrifices,” Councilor Murray Reynolds, Division 6, said. “The mural’s intricate details and symbolism, including the coat of arms, equipment, flags, and poppies, invite us to reflect on the profound history they represent. Let us celebrate these unsung heroes and the freedoms they fought to preserve. Thanks to the support of various organizations and generous public donations, this mural stands as a lasting testament to their courage.”
Miyanaga says that the mural is a testament to the community’s commitment to preserving the memory of these heroes and educating future generations about the sacrifices made for the freedoms we enjoy today.
“It is with deep appreciation that I joined the unveiling of this remarkable mural alongside Councillor Murray Reynolds and Vauxhall Legion member Ed Unser,” Miyanaga said. “This mural is a testament to the dedication and vision of Sharon Hagen, Enchant Library Manager, and the incredible artistic talent of Bernadette LeCaineFrench, a First Nations artist who brought this project to life. The mural serves as an important educational tool and a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers like Clarence Howg, TRP Rae Stamp, PTE Anton Malm, and SPR Wilbur H Gillespie, who did not return from WWI and WWII. Their stories are woven into the very fabric of our community’s history, and this mural ensures that their memory endures. I want to extend my gratitude to Veterans Affairs Canada, the Enchant Recreation Association, the MD of Taber, the Enchant Library Board, and the generous public donors for making this project possible.”