Shirlene and Ned Sorenson will serve as Centerfield 24th of July grand marshals

Longtime Centerfield residents, Ned and Shirlene Sorenson will lead the city’s Pioneer Day parade as Grand Marshals, while spreading breast cancer awareness.

CENTERFIELD—For their annual Pioneer Day celebration, Centerfield chose Shirlene and Ned Sorenson to lead the parade as Grand Marshals.

Ned and Shirlene have been married for 55 years and have lived in Centerfield for 46 years. 

During the Vietnam War, Ned served for four years with the U.S. Navy as an electrician. He was stationed on the aircraft carrier Coral Sea.   

After his service, Ned lived with Shirlene in the Salt Lake area. The couple moved to Centerfield in 1975 when Ned was hired to work in the SUFCO Mine in Salina. Although the job brought them to the area, Ned and Shirlene had wanted to move to the country to settle down and start their family. And Centerfield was the perfect fit.

“Centerfield is just a quality country area,” Shirlene said. “It has been a really wonderful place to raise our children.” 

Ned worked at and finally retired from the mine after 36 years.  During that time, Shirlene had their five children and worked in offices for two local doctors and spent seven years at Barex Dairy caring for newborn calves. She also worked in the Gunnison Valley Hospital.

She was working X-rays when the hospital first received the technology required to give mammograms. Along with two other women, she worked with the equipment, giving the first available breast cancer screenings in the area. Because of her work at the hospital, she knew the importance of yearly mammograms, and was diligent about getting hers for 30 years. 

When she turned 70, she thought she was done with mammograms.  But, after a few months, she convinced herself to get one. And she received the results no woman expects: She had breast cancer. Though it was an aggressive form of cancer, it was caught before it spread to her lymph nodes. She is now a cancer survivor of 2 years and 4 months. 

“The mammogram saved my life,” she said.

The couple is using this honor as an opportunity to communicate a message Shirlene is glad she listened to. Their float in the parade will be adorned with a sign reading “Get your mammograms,” Shirlene said. 

“I am very dedicated to getting the word out,” Shirlene said of her advocacy.

In their free time, Ned and Shirlene enjoy camping and fishing with their family. And as she has gotten older, Shirlene has adopted quilting as her new passion.  Active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they have been temple workers at the Manti Temple for the past 10 years, one of their favorite activities.

Ned and Shirlene have five children: Gayle Sorenson (Wendy Wilding) of Scipio, Utah; Sarah (Rhett) Kimball of Delta, Utah; Emilee (Boyd) Hatch of Winnemucca, Nev.; Heather (Jaren) Anderson of Gunnison; and David (Jessica) Sorenson of American Fork, Utah. The couple has 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.  They also have a family of five living in Rock Springs, Colo., that they love as their own.

Although being chosen as the grand marshals came as a “complete shock” to them, Ned and Shirlene are ready to celebrate the day while advocating a worthy cause.