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Behind the Badge: Rescue paramedic’s lifesaving legacy continues after his tragic death

Behind the Badge

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Gone but not forgotten. Longtime paramedic Lieutenant Jason Sorensen died recently but his lifesaving legacy continues on in the people he rescued over the years.

Last November ABC4 profiled Lt. Sorensen in a Behind the Badge segment that was shot on a mountain cliff with a LifeFlight helicopter hovering a few hundred feet above. On that day Sorensen was evaluating hoist rescues during a training exercise at Brighton Ski Resort but usually, he was the paramedic dangling on the cable.

Life Flight medic Jason Sorensen dies after plane crash

“Every one of them is a little bit different,” he told Behind the Badge about his rescues. “I mean your terrain is different. Sometimes it’s steep. Sometimes it’s rocky. A lot of rock climbers who have fallen sometimes we’re real close up against the rocks and I mean our pilots are amazing. They’ll put you in spots that you never thought you could get.”

At the time, the Bountiful native was finishing up a 20-year career with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office and about to go full time with Intermountain LifeFlight where he served as a rescue medic and a jet pilot. Despite his hundreds of successful missions, he was humble.

“I wouldn’t call myself a hero by any means. I feel lucky that I’m allowed to do this. I love this job,” Sorensen said on that November morning. “It’s good to have a job where you feel that you’re feel like you’re kind of making a difference in people’s lives and it’s exciting.”

Seven months after that story aired, Jason suddenly went from rescuer to victim when a small plane he was riding in crashed June 25th near Legacy Parkway in Centerville. Bystanders pulled him from the burning wreckage before his paramedic colleagues arrived, 

“It just seemed like a bad dream,” Lt. Jason Boydston of the Davis County Sheriff’s Office recalled upon learning his colleague was badly burned and injured. “Did not seem real but I knew that we had to get him to the hospital as quickly as we could.”

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Lt. Boydston was one of Sorensen’s closest friends. He says Sorensen was able to say goodbye to his wife Amy and children River and Sam before passing away at the hospital four days after the crash. He was 47 years old.

“He was the best. He would do anything for you. Help you out any way he could,” Lt. Boydston said. “Jason affected numerous lives over his career, all over the state, throughout the county. He had wonderful relationships with all the fire departments, law enforcement agencies.”

On July 5th a group of Jason’s colleagues hiked up to the hillside star above Kaysville and shined their lights down to honor their friend.

“It’s our outward showing of our gratitude for what Jason did for us in a world that’s a little bit chaotic,” Commander Erik Bornemeier of Davis County Search & Rescue said. “It’s our way of shining a little bit of light in the darkness…It’s a tragedy to lose such a good individual, a strong healer within the community and this is our way of healing as well.”

Following his Wednesday morning funeral service at Lindquist’s Mortuary in Layton, Lieutenant Jason Mitchell Sorensen will be laid to rest at Centerville City Cemetery.

A charitable account has been set up for his family at America First Credit Union. Donations can be made to the Jason Sorensen Charitable Account, No. 9116393

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Emily Florez
Rick Aaron, has more than 24 years of experience in television news as an anchor, reporter and producer. Originally from Mississippi, Rick graduated with honors from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and began working at KTTV Fox 11 in Los Angeles.

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