Paul Salois of Bowling Green is being recognized as the August Resident of the Month at the Mexico Missouri Veterans Home. Paul had lived in Bowling Green with his wife, Betty, since 1966 before going to the Veterans Home in April 2013.
Paul was born on Aug. 15, 1932 in Scotland, Conn. as one of five children. He was raised in Plainfield, Conn. and his parents were chicken ranchers.
One of his most significant childhood memories is being in a hurricane in 1938 when he was six years old. He recalls the winds were so strong that he was lifted off the ground while his uncle held tightly to his arm and Paul recalls yelling, “Woo-hoo, I’m superman!”
He graduated from Assumption Preparatory School, a French-oriented Catholic boarding school in Worcester, Mass.
Between the French influence of his school and his French family members, Paul became as fluent in French as he is in English.
After high school graduation he attended two days of college at the University of Connecticut before contracting polio, which made him paralyzed on his right side. He was put in isolation at a hospital for four months and then went through a year of physical therapy which helped him regain his strength and the full use of his right side. After he healed he joined the Air Force.
Paul served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1955 during the Korean War as staff sergeant and foreign liaison.
He was given the choice of several air force schools and chose to attend radio communications school and instructor school at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.
After discovering his French fluency would be helpful for his military career, he visited the foreign liaison officer and was given a job as French interpreter.
The veteran spent most of his time as a radio instructor. He initially taught the Frenchmen how to use American-made radio equipment, but because he had an affinity for learning foreign languages he was eventually assigned to teach classes for soldiers from many allied countries including Iran, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Yugoslavia. He learned enough of the various languages to teach what needed to be taught.
Paul was part of the Secret Intelligence and had top secret clearance, so he also taught some classes for top secret missions. From his service he earned the National Defense Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal.
Paul’s most memorable experience from his military service was meeting his wife at a dance on base that her church organized. They married in 1952 and had five children. They’ll celebrate their 61st wedding anniversary this November.
After his military discharge, Paul worked for a year at McDonald Aircraft as a radio electronics inspector. Then he worked for a year at Ozark Airlines as a radio mechanic.
Meanwhile, he studied for his First Class Radiotelephone Operator License, which he needed to operate a radio broadcasting station.
After obtaining his license, he worked at various stations including 11 years at KWK in St. Louis as their sound engineer.
After the station lost its license to operate, Paul and his wife became entrepreneurs and operated their own radio station. They hired a consulting engineer who found a radio frequency the couple could use in Bowling Green.
The Salois duo raised money to start the business by finding people to buy stock shares in their corporation. Paul and Betty bought land where they put up a tower for the station.
They named their station KPCR; the K standing for a station west of the Mississippi, and PCR for Pike County Radio. KPCR first went on air in January 1967.
Their radio business was profitable after a year at which time it expanded its coverage area from 500 watts to 1000 watts.
In 1972 they got FM radio and continued operating their station until they sold it at retirement.
During his working years Paul made up for the fact that polio interrupted his college career and became a Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer and has been a lifelong member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers and a member of the Missouri Broadcasters Association.
During retirement Paul and his wife bought a large motor home and traveled all over the country, visiting all 48 contiguous states.
They kept themselves busy with several creative pursuits, including inventing a board game about politics, which they called “Campaign.”
Over the years Paul has also kept himself busy with many hobbies, only some of which include photography, gunsmithing, hunting and fishing. He also wrote a book about sourdough bread and had several chapters from the book published.
Paul’s friends and family congratulate him as he is honored as the Mexico Missouri Veterans Home August Resident of the Month!