GARLAND - By Cari Doutre - July 9, 2020
The Valley Headliner - BRVNEWS.com’s coverage of Garland City's 2020 Wheat & Beet Days is sponsored by Sofa's Corner - 91 East Factory St., Garland, Utah. Thank you for supporting local journalism in the Bear River Valley!
Lee and Lanette Sorensen of East Garland have dedicated their lives to serving others and their community. They are a wealth of knowledge and good deeds and they could possibly be Garland’s best kept secret.
The Sorensens don’t like attention. They both prefer to fly under the radar unnoticed while going about their jobs, lives and volunteer work.
Their plan worked until Garland City named Lee and Lanette the 2020 recipients of their annual Wheelon Award for Wheat & Beet Days.
What the community doesn’t know about the couple is how knowledgeable and trained they are in several different areas with various skill sets. Both are first responders and Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians, and both are highly trained to respond to several different kinds of emergency situations.
Lee is an officer with the Tremonton Garland Police Department – a position he has had for over five years. Before then he worked for other local law enforcement agencies and even before that he graduated from Bear River High School in 1986.
“I serve the public to the best of my ability,” Lee said.
Lee added that the best way to serve people is to treat them as if you would want your family members treated.
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In addition to his career in law enforcement, Lee is also an instructor in the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Team. Lee and Lanette are also Community Emergency Response Team instructors as well.
Lanette is also a graduate of Bear River High School from the Class of 1988. She attended Utah State University where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science.
Lanette is also a trailblazer in Garland and has paved the way for women in local fire departments. In 2011 she became the first woman to join the Garland City Fire Department. It was a decision her husband Lee’s fully supported.
“Because I do so many different things, I think he was like, ‘here we go again,’” she said with a laugh.
“I love it,” Lanette said about being on the fire department. She also likes to encourage young girls that they too can be a firefighter by telling them, “hey, you can do this too. You can do whatever you want.”
In addition to her position on the Garland City Fire Department, she is also a member of the Tremonton Fire Department and is an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician for both departments. Lanette is trained in hazmat operations, has a Firefighter 2 certification (the highest certification), and is on the Utah Critical Incident Stress Management Team. https://www.utcism.org/
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Lanette is also an Advanced EMT Course Coordinator and teacher. In 2017 she was named Garland City’s Emergency Preparedness Director. Two weeks later Lanette faced her first Garland City emergency – a major flood.
Her full-time job is with the Utah Department of Health’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Preparedness. Lanette is over the training and exercise program working with mass fatalities, health care operations, planning and logistics. https://bemsp.utah.gov/
Six years ago, Lanette formed the Paws for Applause 4-H Dog Club for youth in Box Elder County. Lanette, along with Tiffany Hatch, head up the club that teaches canine care and health, obedience and other skills training for their dogs.
See BRVNEWS.com’s previously posted article on Paws for Applause here:
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Lanette’s work with pets extends to other species of animals. She runs the Pet Advocate Program, a competition based group that will have a statewide pet show on August 4, at the Box Elder County fairgrounds.
Lanette’s love for dogs started long before she formed Paws for Applause. She trained, and loved Oliver, a therapy dog that worked closely with special needs students at Bear River High. Over the years she has trained search and rescue and therapy dogs.
All of her hard work and volunteer hours are simply to help others and to serve the community.
“I love where we live,” Lanette said about the Garland community.
Although the Wheelon Award is for both Lee and Lanette, both are humble yet appreciative of the honor.
“It was unexpected,” said Lee about the honor.
Lee and Lanette have been married since 1994 and have two children, Lacee and Landon.
Lee isn’t shy to give credit to his wife and to recognized how hard she works and the good she does for the community.
“She is great and that’s why she’s getting this honor,” Lee said.
There was a reason why Garland City picked the Sorensens for this honor.
“I picked the Sorensens because we are trying to honor first responders this year and nobody exemplifies service from first responders more than the Sorensens do,” said Garland City Mayor Todd Miller.
Garland City’s annual Wheelon Award is named after John C. Wheelon, a two-term mayor of Garland and was instrumental in protecting and supplying water rights to farmers in the community during the early 1900s.
Garland City honored Wheelon in 1990 for his contributions to the community during Wheat & Beet Days. Since then the award has been referred to in his honor.