Green River residents Julian and Patsy Sorensen keep busy as communication directors for Southwest Wyoming. They help locals and visitors of Sweetwater County who are in need or find themselves in unexpected predicaments. 

GREEN RIVER – Life long Wyomingites Julian and Patsy Sorensen give special meaning to community service.

Julian is from Lovell and Patsy is from Evanston. They met at the University of Wyoming. He was a history and Spanish major while his wife majored in elementary education.

“I’ve decided to work with my hands though,” Julian admitted. “I became an electrician in 1973.”

“He built himself a nice little workshop before retirement and that’s where he goes to play and work,” Patsy said.

With those skills, Julian has helped support many community projects and organizations. He and others painted and custom built the wooden stable and figures for the live nativity for the community to drive by and enjoy during the pandemic. It was located at the Church of the Nazarene in Green River.

“We didn’t do it by ourselves,” Patsy mentioned. “We worked with other churches and people to create the nativity.”

“A lot of good people in the community came out and helped,” Julian said. “It’s rewarding to see how many people drove by it and admired it. They didn’t even have to get out of their cars.”

She pointed out that they aim to bring people together. They strive to keep the community a good place to live.

In April 2021, the Sorensens received the 2021 Distinguished Citizens Award.

Patsy was a Sweetwater County School District No. 1 educator for 24 years.

“We like living here and we always thought we should give back to our community,” she pointed out.

Together Julian and Patsy have participated in local food drives. They helped organize a clean-up on the green belt and organized a National Day of Prayer meeting. However, due to COVID-19, participants had to listen to the discussions and scripture readings on the radio.

Last year, they helped organized the first-ever Easter Sunrise Service at Edgewater Park.

“It was a beautiful morning,” Patsy shared. “People brought chairs and enjoyed the live music and scripture readings.”

Patsy is a long time member of the Castle Rock Hospital Board and volunteered many years with VIRS (Volunteer Information and Respite Service) supporting the needs of Sweetwater County.

“My mom was taken care of at Castle Rock so I wanted to make sure that never changes,” Patsy said.

She has also collected Valentine’s Day cards and Christmas cards for patients as well.

The husband and wife team collect coats for the needy, whether they’re local or just passing through.

They are on the board of directors for the Travelers Assistance Society of Sweetwater County (TASSC.)

“They deal with people traveling through the area,” Julian explained. “If a traveler’s car breaks down, we help by providing them a meal and a room to stay in but we can’t fix the car.”

He shared an example of a young woman who was riding a semi-truck with a boyfriend. He threw her out and abandoned her with no coat. She didn’t even get a chance to retrieve her purse from the truck.

“We picked her up and took her to TASSC,” he shared. “They gave her a coat.

“That’s why we collect coats; people coming here don’t realize what the Wyoming weather is like.”

According to Patsy, a family passing through were sleeping in a car.

“All the mother wanted was sleeping bags for her kids,” she said.

They gathered sleeping bags for the family. Even Patsy’s aunt donated 12 sleeping bags.

They’ve also given strangers like hitchhikers or out-of-town inmates who had just been released with no belongings or money a meal, socks, coats and sleeping bags.

TASSC is only dependent on free will donations. Many churches and individuals support them

“It’s the goodness of the people in Green River and Sweetwater County who make a difference,” Julian pointed out.

“We get up in the morning and Julian will ask, ‘What do we have going on today?’” Patsy chuckled. “I tell him, ‘The phone hasn’t rung yet.’”

Almost every day, their phone will ring from people who need assistance.

On Tuesday, they received a call from a woman saying that she wanted to donate travel-size items such as soaps and shampoos but she didn’t know who needed them the most. Patsy suggested a couple of locations.

“We help others make those connections,” Patsy said. “The lady taking those products to the youth home probably thought it was just a small gesture but to them, it’s a big deal.”

She added, “Some of it is really easy, some of it is really hard. It’s what we’re here for – to do easy and hard and serve the people.”

They agreed that everyone has a lot in common and that they don’t do missionary work. They are just there to help people.

Julian said, “Some people have issues and challenges. If we can help them, that’s what we hope we can do.”

The Sorensens have been helping Sweetwater County for five years.

“We hope to do it for another five,” Patsy expressed. “We have good health and we’re so blessed to have this calling.

“We’re not the type to sit in a rocking chair and wait for our birth certificates to expire! We will keep helping people.”

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