Green River Couple Honored with Distinguished Citizens Award

Green River Couple Honored with Distinguished Citizens Award

Pictured from left to right are Julian and Patsy Sorensen, Green River Mayor Pete Rust, and Green River Councilman Gary Killpack. Green River Chamber photo

GREEN RIVER — The Green River Chamber of Commerce announced this week that it has selected Julian and Patsy Sorensen as the 2021 Distinguished Citizen recipients.

The Chamber said Julian puts his talents as a builder and electrician to work to support various community projects and organizations, and Patsy dedicates multitudes of her time supporting individuals and organizations throughout the community.

“We feel overwhelmed by the honor of Distinguished Citizens. What we do is part of our makeup and we know that there are many people in Green River that are just as deserving, if not more so,” Patsy told SwetwaterNOW.

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The Sorensens have called Green River home for 37 years, and they find that volunteering where they can is simply their way of giving back to the community they love so dearly.

“Our 37 years in Green River have been great and we feel the need to help make it continue to be a wonderful community by doing small and simple things,” Patsy said.

The Sorensens give a lot of credit to the other volunteers who help them with their efforts throughout the community.

We do not do the volunteering alone. We find that there are many others that are willing to help us when we ask.

~Patsy Sorensen

Julian recently gathered other electricians and they spent several hours rewiring during the remodeling of the Living Hope Baptist Church offices and classrooms. He also helped recruit a separate group of volunteers to help hang drywall. With more volunteers, Julian also helped finish painting the exterior of the Church of Nazarene parsonage, and even custom built the wooden stable and figures for the Live Nativity scene during Christmas this past year.

“Similarly, with the help of others, Julian assisted in the building of the Community Garden at the Rock Butte Apartments, and he and a crew filled the beds with soil and made sure it was ready to plant,” the Chamber said.

Patsy, a longtime member of the Castle Rock Hospital District Board, has spent many years volunteering with Volunteer Information and Referral Services (VIRS), supporting needed services for residents of both Green River and Rock Springs.

She also organizes groups to help with her donating efforts. She has gathered groups to sort donated clothing that is given to foster children through the Department of Family Services, and she organized a sewing “army” which made gowns and masks for the Mission at Castle Rock Rehabilitation Center and the Villa Assisted Living facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patsy also organized and collected Christmas cards and Valentine’s cards for those same facilities.

The Chamber described her as a “true community leader,” as she always seems to find the support of her fellow residents in her volunteering projects.

Additionally, Julian can be found lending his electrician expertise to his neighbors in person or over the phone, while Patsy was volunteering with reading in a first-grade class at Washington Elementary School up until the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic started.

Together, Julian and Patsy have participated in local food drives and contacted organizations outside of the food bank to see if they could use any of the food that was donated. They both have also adopted a flower bed in Edgewater Park that they maintain and add flowers from their garden for the entire community to appreciate.

Giving Back to Their Community

When asked why they believe it is important to volunteer their time and skills, Julian said he was raised by parents that taught him to love his neighbors, so he is simply putting that family lesson to work. Patsy has always felt it is important to find opportunities to give back to the community. 

Additionally, volunteering allows the Sorensens to remain active into their retirement. Patsy is fully retired and Julian is “working” on retiring, as Patsy calls it. 

“We are not people that want to spend our retirement years sitting in rocking chairs, watching the world go by,” Patsy said. “That is why we volunteer.”

As much as the community reaps the benefits of the Sorensens kindness and efforts, they say they benefit just as much. Through their volunteering, they have made many new friends and acquaintances who they cherish.

“We have met great people that we probably would not have ever met. An example from two years ago is when we helped organize service projects for 400 youth. One hundred and fifty of those youth helped clean up yards for widows. The ladies were very grateful for the help, and Julian and I made some new friends. This happens time after time,” Patsy said.

“It is clear that Julian and Patsy Sorensen truly embody what it means to be a distinguished citizen, and we are fortunate that these caring individuals call Green River home,” the Chamber said.

The Chamber’s video on the Sorensen’s award can be viewed below.