Being named one of this year’s Hometown Proud recipients is a person who has lived in Jackson his whole life and wouldn’t have it any other way. This Jackson resident is Kenny Loos, who despite being retired since 2017 still stays as active as possible in the community.
What Loos enjoys the most about Jackson is that everyone knows everyone. “There have been a lot of deep relationships that were developed over time, whether it be business or personal,” he said.
Loos spends a lot of his time working with the Jackson Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry and is also a member of the Jackson Tribal Council, which helps raise funds for the Jackson Athletic Department as well as student council. He is a charter member of the Jackson Knights of Columbus and has been since its inception in 1972.
“I’ve always tried to help make people aware of where we’re at,” Loos said. “We’re very proud of that, because that kind of reflects on the community of Jackson and the giving spirit that they have, because they have been able to provide the resources that people need when they’re going through difficult times, such as food.”
Along with that, Loos is also very involved at his church and serves as a Lay Eucharistic Minister for the homebound people in the area. He’s been doing that since 1999 and describes it as one of the most rewarding things he’s ever done in his life.
One can look back at Kenny’s upbringing as to why he’s as generous with his time and resources as he is today. Loos learned this from his parents growing up right here in Jackson.
“[My parents] were a great influence on me — they were made to love and appreciate people,” he said. “All they ever wanted to do was quietly give themselves not only to the church but to the community, which they did their entire lives. I wanted to make sure that baton was passed on to me and that I would not let them down.”
Loos said his parents also had the same impact on his brothers and sisters, whom he describes as giving people as well. Kenny said they all feel motivated by their parents to do what they can for their community.
“You know, we’re put on this earth by the Lord to serve,” Loos said. “That’s what we’ve always tried to do in a small way making our contributions to society.”
Loos spent his first eight years of education at Immaculate Conception in Jackson prior to attending Jackson High School. After graduating in 1971, Kenny took some time off before going to school at Southeast Missouri State and earning a marketing and sales degree, graduating in 1979.
Loos noted that he had the opportunity to go work for international companies once he left SEMO, but he instead found a smaller company that better fit his personality. This was in large part because he didn’t want to leave the Jackson area.
For what is known today as SUPERVALU Inc., Kenny oversaw consumer food products and represented several different wholesale companies. He called on all of the wholesale houses and was responsible to call on all of their retail stores as well, covering parts of four states.
“It always kept me very busy, and I enjoyed my work greatly,” Loos said. “I made a lot of great relationships and business through them. What was really cool about the job is that it was an opportunity to meet a lot of different folks from different sectors of our region. I found out we had a lot more things in common than what we didn’t.”
Loos did that from 1982 to 2007, which was when he applied for a job in marketing with Jackson Manor. Kenny worked there for 10 years until his retirement in 2017.
“What I always appreciated about that job the most was being able to work with the families within the community,” Loos said. “Sometimes they came in with their parents or themselves to rehab. Other times they came in at the end of life, and I found that very rewarding. It was not a job — it was a ministry. With that, I reacquainted myself with a lot of folks that maybe I had lost touch with. To this very day, people have come up to me and thanked me for helping them get through some very difficult times.”
After he retired from Jackson Manor in 2017, Loos actually served as a substitute teacher at Jackson for a little bit. This was where he was able to develop relationships with the youth of his community, which was also an eye-opening experience for him.
“It made me appreciate what my background was because I saw what some of the kids are lacking today or maybe did not have what I did,” Loos explained. “It always made me go back to thinking of how mom and dad sacrificed so much for us with their love and attention.”
As for his own family today, Kenny raised two daughters with his beloved wife Joyce. One of their daughters, Kate, tragically passed when she was 30-years-old back around when Loos retired. Their youngest daughter, Kelly, and her husband,Rusty Neumann, are both physical therapists in Springfield, Illinois. Kelly and Rusty have two children, 10-year-old Kaden and 7-year-old Remington Kate.
One of the reasons why Loos was able to have a successful career and life is because of his wife. Kenny was even able to coach his daughters — primarily in basketball — all the way from when they were little to high school.
“Being active with my kids was extremely important to me,” Loos said. “I have to compliment my wife because she gave me the freedom to be able to be with them. Without that opportunity, I don’t think I would’ve been a very complete person.”