When it came down to recognizing the efforts of former Sooke fire chief Steve Sorensen, district council was at an impasse: shake his hand and give him a plaque, or do something he – and the Sooke community – will remember forever.
To Sorensen’s surprise, council, along with district staff, friends and volunteers, chose one of the closest things to his heart; take Sooke Fire Station No. 2. and rename it Sorensen Station in his honour.
“I was a little overwhelmed, it was quite a shock… I’m pleased, it was a really nice gesture,” Sorensen said, adding he knew something was being planned, but had no idea what, or to what scale.
He and Station No. 2 certainly go way back. It was there in Sunny Shores where he grew up after he and his family moved to Sooke, and the station was also where he spent most of his volunteer time. Later, he bought the house across the street right next to the fire hall, and he lived there for a long time. There was even a little bay where he could work on old fire trucks.
“It’s kinda funny to drive down and see your name on it,” Sorensen said, still somewhat shocked. Ironically, Sorensen and others help build the sign, not knowing that all the lettering was going to be changed.
The sign itself is a piece of Sooke history as well. It’s the end of the boom of a crane that worked at the local mill, which was cut into three pieces, and the cable was there to represent the crane lifting up logs. Fellow firefighter Chris McCrae, a former landscaper, did all the plantings and the brickwork.
In all, the whole idea seemed very fitting and well-orchestrated, noted Rick McLeod, retired Sooke deputy fire chief, who worked with Sorensen for 20 years. When he joined in ‘92, Sorensen was his training officer.
“That station is paramount… it’s not going anywhere, and it will always be called Sorensen station,” McLeod said. “It further entrenches him to be a part of Sooke’s history.”
The official announcement of Sorensen Station was made by Mayor Maja Tait during last week’s council meeting.
“Steve made outstanding contributions to our community and this is where council wanted to recognize and thank him in some manner,” she said, adding that the whole idea was to have something meaningful and with longevity.”