There are so many words being used to describe Wolf Solkin.
“An incredible Canadian, an incredible veterans’ advocate and he was a special man,” said Jill Greenwood, a friend Solkin made on social media.
But one word often comes up: selfless.
“I wish the world had many more of him,” said Alex Sándor Czank, another friend.
Solkin passed away in his sleep on Feb. 3 at Ste. Anne’s Hospital, just a few days before his 98th birthday.
Throughout his life, Solkin often put himself on the line in order to help others.
He was the last surviving officer of Canada’s Algonquin regiment that participated in liberating Europe from German invasion during the Second World War.
“’NE-KAH-NE-TAH’ — let us lead — is the Motto of The Algonquin Regiment, and to that, Wolf always held true,” said Tim Chambers, a former member of the Royal Montreal Regiment and a friend of Solkin.
“He could not sit back and do nothing. He is among the last of a rare breed of those willing to take a stand. I will miss him.”
Most recently, Solkin was a fearless advocate for veterans’ rights and dignity.
“He was very vocal through many advocacy groups on Facebook and just with his iPad and his ‘one working finger,’ he would say, he would share his love and support to all of our veterans,” Greenwood said.
Solkin spent the last years of his life at Ste. Anne’s Hospital, where he was head of the patients committee.
The hospital is home to around 100 veterans.
“With the Ste-Anne Veterans Committee, he championed their cause and was instrumental in protecting their rights,” said Kenneth R. Ouellet, the president of the Royal Canadian Legion, Quebec Command.
“His devotion to the veteran community will sorely be missed.”
After the hospital was transferred from federal to provincial management, Solkin noticed a decline in service, so he took on a class action lawsuit that is still underway.
“Wolf’s legacy will, I hope, include the successful conclusion to the protracted suit,” said Chambers, who is also involved in the suit.
“The torch must now be picked up by others and it will be.”
As tributes pour in on social media, those who knew him remarked how Solkin never liked the attention.
“Absolutely, he didn’t really like the spotlight,” said Sándor Czank.
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa agrees.
“He would really, really have hated to make a big deal out of it,” she said, stating she was hesitant to speak for that reason.
Solkin’s life has left a deep impact on those he met along his path and Hawa says she wants his family to know that.
“I’m going to miss him. He was a really, really wonderful man,” Hawa said.