A Fitting Tribute to the Memory of Jerod M. Loeb: Swimming Lessons for Children of America’s Fallen
To honor deceased Water Quality & Health Council (WQHC) member Jerod M. Loeb, PhD, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) recently made a monetary donation to the organization Angels of America’s Fallen. “Angels” provides free healthy activities, such as swimming lessons, to the children of America’s fallen first-responders and military. This article describes Dr. Loeb, his interests, and the positive results we anticipate as a tribute to his memory.
Over the course of our nearly 29-year history, the members of the WQHC, an outside advisory group to the ACC, have become close friends. Consequently, our world was rocked when we lost our colleague, Jerod M. Loeb, PhD, to cancer in October of 2013. On numerous occasions since then we have speculated on how Jerod would have reacted to various public health issues and developments over the past several years. Ours is a group that values the perspective of each member, and Jerod’s is sorely missing.
We’ve been pleased that the ACC continues to honor the memory of our friend. This summer, as in the previous four, a donation has been made in Jerod’s honor to the Angels of America’s Fallen. The Angels program provides free healthy activities, including swimming lessons, for the children of America’s fallen military and first responders. Swimming lessons are administered through the Angels initiative known as “Lessons from Lylah.”
Given the current pandemic and social distancing guidelines, we are not sure whether our donation will result in programmed swimming lessons this year. If not this summer, however, we are confident there will be opportunities in the future to transform the ACC donation into swimming lessons for children of parents who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
A Passionate Volunteer
In addition to his “day job” at The Joint Commission, working on performance measures across a wide variety of healthcare accreditation and certification programs, Jerod was a passionate volunteer first-responder. In their home town of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Jerod and his wife, Sherri, were very involved in the Community Emergency Response Team (“CERT”). Sherri recently reminisced about the Labor Day parades in which she and Jerod rode first aid bicycles, stressing the holiday weekend might have been the highlight of the year for Jerod. He would “spend all day Saturday and Sunday at the first aid tent responding to anything and everything,” said Sherri. And as a volunteer police and fire commissioner, Jerod, she noted, “was living out his childhood dream, since he was a toddler in a stroller, to become a firefighter.” Shortly before he passed away, Jerod and Sherri renewed their wedding vows. Where? You guessed it: at the fire department before 100 friends, fellow firefighters, and police officers. Naturally, the fire chief officiated.
New Swimmers in Jerod’s Honor
We believe that swimming is a skill that opens the door to a wide variety of enjoyable water-based recreational activities. Being able to swim can also mean the difference between life and death. We heartily support the goals of the Angels and we are delighted to know that at some point in the future, a new crop of swimmers will emerge in Jerod’s honor.