Interim City Manager Eric Wier told Crescent City Council Tuesday that the Wakefield family announced the resignation of Crescent City Fire and Rescue Chief Steve Wakefield as he recovers in a Medford hospital from two strokes.
‘What he brought to this community, I don’t think can truly be comprehended by the community,” Wier said. “It was just something that we took for granted.” Wier estimated that Wakefield had been with the department over 40 years but had been chief since 1995. Wier said Wakefield was known to respond to local emergencies around the clock, seven days a week.
“He dedicated his entire life to this community and to helping others,” Wier said. “His leadership was phenomenal. From a volunteer firefighter’s standpoint, what he instilled in all of us, as a department, as a community, will live on forever.”
Wier called Wakefield “a catalyst for change” who saw the need to bring the city fire department and district together for the good of the community.
“For that I want to thank him and thank his family,” Wier said, closing his official announcement.
Councilor Darrin Short, also a battalion chief, said “I look at him and his whole family and see community members who are quite remarkable.” He called Wakefield successful in very sense of the word.
“Steve’s place at the fire department will always be there,” Wier said, noting that Wakefield is currently recovering. “When he’s ready to come back, we will have a place for Steve Wakefield as a legacy member of the department, in whatever capacity he can.”
Steve suffered a stroke Jan. 24 that resulted in his transfer to Pacific Medical Care’s Stroke Care Center in San Francisco, before a second, more severe stroke hit him on Feb. 11.
Debra Wakefield has been posting regular updates on her husband’s condition online and says he is functioning better. A brain CT scans show a bleed is not getting worse, which Debra said was good news. She said he’s been staying awake longer and and is undergoing speech therapy.
Reach Tony Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org