Who We Are: Finding a fit in Frisco
summit daily news
FRISCO – Seth Blackmer, Frisco’s new community service officer, finds his job a perfect fit.
Sure, he misses some aspects of being the town’s events and recreation manager, but not the 20-hour days he put in to execute the annual Frisco BBQ Challenge the past eight years. He is sad to leave behind his Frisco Fun Club camp counselors and the task of giving them the tools to make a difference in their students’ lives, but he says he can do that at home now, with his 3- and 5-year-old children.
When he started in his first Town of Frisco position, he was working full-time for SOS Outreach, helping Arn Menconi develop the core values and launch the program. He also worked part-time as the recreation coordinator for Frisco Fun Club for young kids. Blackmer continued to sit on the board of SOS until his family came along.
“I started having my own kids and my own nonprofit at home,” he said.
In March, he left the events and recreation manager position to become the newest community service officer – the face of the Frisco Police Department in the community.
Former community service officer Larry Waetjen retired toward the end of 2011.
Blackmer said he has less of a law enforcement focus than Waetjen, who had been a police officer and worked at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office before he came back as community service officer.
“It’s about keeping people safe and their experience positive coming into the town, especially as a tourist. I want to help people feel comfortable as they come in,” Blackmer said, adding that Frisco is attractive to people because “we welcome tourists in and welcome them as locals. Everybody wants to feel like a local.”
His job does have a compliance component, though. Part of the job is to lift some of the burden off the police force, so asking people to keep dogs on leash is part of the job.
“They work incredibly hard and have a tough job,” Blackmer said of the police force. “If I can set them up in any way to help them do their job, that’s what I’m here for.”
Blackmer is well-connected within the community; he jokes that between his stint as events and recreation manager, his wife’s job as a nurse in the labor and delivery unit of St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center and his two children’s involvement in all kinds of recreation and school events, they know most of the local community.
Now, though, he’s interacting with the people he knows in a different way. Instead of asking Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue to inspect the event tents, he’s conversing with them about the best practices for encouraging people to comply with rules willingly.
He’s thrilled about the change of pace as well as the variety of it all.
“It’s all over the place. That’s exactly what I love about this job: You never know what you’re going to get,” he said.
He recently came across a 3-year-old girl on the recpath, riding along by herself. He stopped her and gave her a ride home.
“She got a new bike the night before. Mom got in the shower and she was going on a bike ride,” Blackmer said.
He said his governing motto is to treat people the way you would like to be treated, which means trying to reach mutual respect and understanding. It’s a completely different challenge, he said.
Blackmer is also pleased to have a Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, which allows him to do his No. 1 job: be a dad.
He and his family have carved a niche for themselves since arriving in Summit County 15 years ago and planning to stay just one season. They’re now raising two kids in a one-bedroom, 700-square-foot apartment built over the garage of a house they’re caretaking at Farmer’s Korner. Blackmer said it’s necessary to be creative when living in Summit County with a family, but it’s worth it to be able to raise kids in the climbing, hiking, fishing and skiing environment.
“Every challenge has a glimmer of something good,” he said. “Look at our surroundings and feel how lucky we are to be here.”
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