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Shawn Cummings is lionhearted


photo of family outside

Together in Taos, New Mexico last fall, the Cummings family enjoys hiking, mountain biking and all the activities the beautiful Colorado outdoors has to offer.

graphic for behind the badgeShawn Cummings has the heart of a public servant.  It is this drive and personal fulfillment that helped Cummings get where he is today.  Cummings grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he cherished time with family and friends and developed a love of board and card games, a hobby he still enjoys.

After completing post-secondary education, with two associate degrees – one in law enforcement from Kirkwood Community College and the other in Massage Therapy from Heritage College – and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in Geography and Environmental Studies, Cummings moved west.  “After finishing my degree from the University of Iowa I moved out to Denver to become a park ranger for Highlands Ranch,” he said.  That was in 1997.  In the intervening two and a half decades, he has curated a life here in Colorado.

By 2001, Cummings transitioned from park ranger into a fire safety career with Littleton Fire Rescue (LFR).  “While being a park ranger was fun it was not as mentally stimulating or morally satisfying as I was hoping for,” Cummings stated.  “As a park ranger, I had the opportunity to work with an engineer from Littleton Fire Rescue on a wildland firefighting project that sparked my interest in the fire service.  I have always wanted to help people for a living, and he suggested I apply to become a firefighter,” Cummings explained.

Cummings got married in 2004 and became a father in 2012.  The Cummings family loves spending time together doing all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer.

Cummings stayed with LFR until 2019 when the agency merged with South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR).  He has been with SMFR since the merger; currently he is a lieutenant.  He enjoys “the challenging physical and mental aspect of emergency services” and feels fortunate to be deployed around the state and country in fire safety service.  His specific deployments have been for wildland firefighting and as a dive rescue specialist.  “No community has all of the resources needed to handle large-scale incidents on their own.  Working with crews from all over to help a community in their time of need has been an honor,” he said of his deployments.

Cummings is also the president of the South Metro Professional Firefighters Foundation (SMPFF).  SMPFF is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to “provide Colorado first responders and their families with assistance in times of serious illness, injury, or loss of life.”  In short, “the foundation supports individuals, groups, and organizations in their time of need,” Cummings explained.

As SMPFF president, Cummings focuses on building community relations and bringing awareness of the foundation to first responders and the public alike.  He also focuses on supporting the SMPFF volunteers.

Cummings said he loves to “help relieve some of the financial stress of the first responder in need so they can focus on being with their families, supporting them, and healing through their difficult time.”

SMPFF has distributed more than $75,000 to Colorado first responders so far this year, with another $101,500 in 2022.  Because of the fundraising nature of the foundation, Cummings is continually looking for new and inventive ways to support first responders and their families and, in turn, building stronger and safer communities.

Cummings cherishes the opportunity to be a first responder himself and to support other first responders when they need it most.  “It’s very gratifying to be able to serve my community, the immediate community in which my family and I have built our lives,” he said.

For more information about SMPFF visit  For suggestions about community connections and fundraising, email

photo of first responder visiting kids

Lieutenant Cummings teaches preschoolers about fire safety while on a tour of the fire station. Educating young children about what firefighting gear looks like and how it works helps them to be less afraid in an emergency.

photo of man in uniform with family

The Cummings family celebrating together at Shawn’s pinning ceremony when he was promoted from firefighter to lieutenant.


By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Shawn Cummings




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