Guardian of The Village at Castle Pines
By Nancy Koontz; photo by Terri Wiebold
There’s a bright light and a smiling gate guard who greets residents of The Village at Castle Pines and visitors at gate 4, Sunday through Thursday. The very loved and appreciated, Erak Hillman celebrated more than a decade of service as the main gate guard this past September.
Ever since middle school, Erak has loved movies. Growing up, he participated in show choir where they would sing songs from various musicals and he performed in many high school theatre productions. Erak pursued his passion for performance and earned a Bachelor of Arts in acting and theatre performance from the University of Northern Iowa.
Then came 9/11, and Erak switched gears and started a career in security. He took a position as a security guard for Proctor & Gamble in their Iowa City distribution center.
Erak moved to Colorado in August 2008, joining his younger brother who had already moved to Colorado with his family. Erak found his job with The Village continuing his career in security. Residents describe Erak as exceptional, noting that when out of town guests visit, they always remember Erak – and he remembers them.
Doug Davidson, longtime resident of The Village stated, “I have been impressed by Erak as he is the only gate guard I have seen who comes out of his station to greet residents with a wave and a smile.”
“Erak is one of those special people that will go out of his way to assist anyone he comes into contact with. When we moved to The Village, he was an important source of information and made us feel welcome,” agreed residents Nancy and Tom Napolilli.
In addition to manning the gate, Erak is often seen at many of the community’s annual events. “On any of these occasions, we enjoy his company, and we always invite him to join us at our table to have some further conversation, besides just the hello and goodbye at the gate,” said Saeed and Jamileh Abousaeedi. “He is a great guy, and we hope he stays for years to come.”
Erak comes from a close-knit, Midwest family. His father is of Scottish descent. Except for Erak, who was named after the “Dr. Who” character of the same name, all his siblings were given Scottish names.
The new year started with a bang for Erak. He got engaged to his girlfriend of more than two years, Susan Kim. They are planning for a spring or summer wedding in 2022. With his Scottish background, he loves that Susan’s favorite drink happens to be Glenlivet Scotch.