Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

In the months following his retirement announcement last year, Fire Chief Steve Wakefield was honored several times for his service and dedication by many agencies, from the Crescent City Council to his regional colleagues in emergency response.

During those ceremonies, many friends, associates, colleagues and others spoke of Wakefield and his dedication to serving the community.

In recognizing Dec. 3 as Steve Wakefield Day last year, Mayor Blake Inscore recalled advice given to him by Wakefield years before.

“Steve said something to me that absolutely shaped how I approach being a member of this council,” Inscore said. “He said, ‘Blake, I think the people elected you because they think you’re basically honest.’ I just nodded because I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to respond, and he said ‘So, if you prove them right, you’ll do alright.’”

The unanimously adopted proclamation called Wakefield a driving force in combining Crescent City Fire and Rescue and Crescent City Fire Protection District, “to centralize strength while maintaining exceptional service.”

It said Wakefield led CCFR with pride and passion, “always leading from his heart, and has always been responsive to individuals physical and emotional pain while offering grace and mercy for every person’s emergency.”

In addition, Inscore asked staff also make Dec. 3, Service Above Self Day in Wakefield’s honor.

“We ask citizens to take a moment of their day to perform a random act of kindness for another person, as this is what brings our community together,” Inscore said.

“He embodied what it means to be a city employee and just like his Dad, city Fire Chief Bob Wakefield did before him, he loved being Crescent City’s fire chief and working to serve this community,” City Manager Eric Wier said Monday. “This is why it is so fitting that on Dec. 3, 2018, the city council named that day as “Service Above Self Day” in honor of Chief Steve Wakefield.”

Wier said the community, as a whole, will not forget Wakefield and recalled the words “be the change you want to see in the world.”

“When I think back on Chief Wakefield, he was just that. He led by example, always giving service above self, and empowering others to enact positive change,” Wier said. “Without a doubt Chief Wakefield will be missed, but he will definitely not be forgotten as a little piece of his dedication to this community and his relentless humble force will live on in each of us who were fortunate enough to know him.”

“You showed me what Crescent City is; a great place to live and grow,” Police Chief Ivan Minsal said to Wakefield at the Decemberl presentation. “You are a true professional as a firefighter, an excellent administrator as a fire chief but more importantly, you’re a great man. It’s been an honor to walk in your shadow...”

Fire Battalion and former city council member Chief Darrin Short said that in 23 years as chief, Wakefield responded to “every single call.” Short estimated that comes to about 1,500 calls a year, ranging from routine to extraordinary to tragic.

“To me, that’s a big thing to bear that on your shoulders, and to lead those folks responding from their homes and stations, and mentor them in the way they should go.”

Mayor Pro Tem Heidi Kime recalled Wakefield’s help when she opened her business but said until becoming a council member, she was unaware of just how hard he worked. Calling Wakefield’s fire radio “a brick,” Kime said she never saw him without it.

“That was a heavy brick to carry,” she said.

After Steve and Debra were honored at a special firefighter’s dinner last October, Steve gave the following advice to his firefighters.

“Be proud of yourselves, be proud of what you do,” he said. “Have fun, ‘cause if you can’t make it fun, you’re not going to have volunteers.”