Educating about safety to make communities stronger
Erin Loeks spends much of her time educating. She might be a familiar face to many residents because she teaches the public safety courses for the South Metro Safety Foundation (SMSF), a nonprofit that partners with South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR).
SMSF specializes in providing safety classes – first aid and CPR, babysitting certifications, safe driving courses, and car seat inspections.
“Instructors come from various local police and fire agencies, along with several schoolteachers who work together on their off-time to make our communities safer,” stated SMSF’s Executive Director Theo Mink.
Loeks “kind of fell” into her current role as assistant executive director. “I got involved with the SMSF when they were looking for a babysitting instructor,” she explained. “A fellow CPR instructor thought that I would enjoy teaching the classes.” Loeks did and stayed to teach numerous other classes. She has become “the heart and soul of our CPR program,” Mink added.
Loeks said that a typical day includes answering phone calls and providing information about the programs, scheduling CPR classes for local businesses or teaching CPR. Loeks was the instructor for a CPR class held for staff from the City of Castle Pines and The Castle Pines Connection in early 2020.
With a degree in early childhood education and a background as a preschool teacher, Loeks is comfortable leading courses. “My favorite aspect of my job is teaching, and I enjoy teaching all age groups,” she said. “Empowering people to handle an emergency is a privilege, and working for the Foundation gives me the flexibility to still teach and spend time with my family.”
A native of Elizabeth, Loeks and her husband of 24 years settled there as well. They have three daughters, one in high school and two in college. Loeks loves to spend time with her family and outdoors. They enjoy hiking and are trying to do more paddleboarding this summer. Exercise and learning about nutrition are also interests of Loeks.
Loeks maintains a few beehives on her property that she tends with her husband. “They are surprisingly easy to have, and I haven’t been stung yet,” she said. “We keep the honey or give it as gifts to family and friends depending on how much extra the bees make.”
Loeks concluded that she enjoys working with the residents of the SMFR district because, “They truly want to help one another to make their community a safer place.”
By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Erin Loeks