Pueblo County Hall of Fame to induct 4 alum in 2021
The Pueblo County High School Alumni Foundation will induct four new members into the school’s Hall of Fame on September 30.
Inductees include the late Elizabeth Villegas, Darrel Contreras, Russell DeSalvo and Ted Hernandez.
A Hall of Fame ceremony will take place at the Pueblo Convention Center at 6 p.m., preceded by a social evening at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets are on sale until September 23 and cost $ 50 for individuals and $ 230 for corporate tables.
Elizabeth Villegas, class of 1966
Villegas graduated from the University of Southern Colorado in 1970 and coached track and field at Penrose High School for four years before returning to Pueblo County. She has distinguished herself as an outstanding multi-sport teacher and coach for the Hornets for 24 years.
“She was very pro-female athletics… We were from that generation that had just started Title IX,” said Cherie Toussaint, a fellow coach and educator from Pueblo County. “In our school there weren’t a lot of opportunities for women and she was one of the few in District 70 who fought like assholes to make sure the girls were recognized.”
Villegas has coached athletics, gymnastics, basketball and volleyball for the Hornets. Among her many accomplishments, she received the Teacher of the Year award from the Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce, won several Volleyball Coach of the Year awards and was inducted into the Hall of Fame. of the Greater Pueblo Sports Association.
“She’s known throughout the state,” Toussaint said. “She just reminds me of what you got into training for; the love of the game… she loved the game and she loved the kids.”
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Darrel Contreras, class of 1971
Contreras is a dedicated former Hornet serving the communities of Avondale and Vineland.
He has served as chairman of the parish council of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Avondale, chairman of the Avondale Water Board and founder of Minorities Interested in the Need to Develop Scholastics (MINDS).
“I don’t do things for recognition,” Contreras said. “I just love doing things for people and I appreciate my daughter, my family and all the letters that have been sent about what I’ve done. I just appreciate that. They make me a man. happy.”
Contreras was born and raised in Avondale. He created the Avondale Cleanup and has been the organizer of several community events including the Easter Egg Hunt and the Veterans Day Parade.
He fondly remembers his childhood in Avondale.
“It was a great time to grow up in this city,” Contreras said. “A lot of people were related in this town, but if you weren’t related you still knew everyone. At that time you could get yourself a bottle of soft drink and you could give a dime … there that we traded with.
“Overall it was just fantastic to experience.”
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Ted Hernandez, class of 1980
After graduating from Pueblo County High School, Hernandez attended the University of Southern Colorado at the time to study music. However, after leaving university in 1983, he began his career with Spectrum Community Services (Sharmar), a statewide service provider for people with developmental disabilities.
“I’ve been doing this for 38 and a half years,” Hernandez said. “I started as a direct care staff and then worked my way up to management. I had the opportunity to buy the business in 2002. I have been the sole owner since then. this time. We provide services to Pueblo, Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs. “
Hernandez also devotes his life to philanthropy in Pueblo.
He has donated over $ 1 million to arts and sports organizations. Hernandez himself was an artist and an athlete. He participated in a group, choir, play, wrestling, and played soccer while in Pueblo County.
“I am truly honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” said Hernandez. “It came as a total surprise to me. It’s not something I would have set my sights on.
“Everything I have done in terms of my donations to the community, I have done almost exclusively anonymously.”
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Russell DeSalvo, Class of 1987
DeSalvo is the President and CEO of PuebloPlex, the officially recognized local redevelopment authority of Pueblo Chemical Depot. He has experience in the public sector working for both the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Reserve Bank.
“I came back to Pueblo in the mid-90s, ‘temporarily’ and never left,” DeSalvo said. “My partners and I started the real estate company and it has grown into a real estate company, a mortgage company and all types of real estate work over the years.
“But for 10 years I have been working for PuebloPlex.”
DeSalvo served on the Association of Defense Communities; Colorado State University System Board of Governors; Colorado State University Pueblo Foundation; Advisory Board of the Legacy Bank; and the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation. He is the current treasurer of the Board of Governors of the CSU system.
“Some of the best years of my life have been spent within the walls of Pueblo County High School,” DeSalvo said. “… Another important thing is the uniqueness of the environment at Pueblo County High School. You felt more like a family member than a student.”
Pueblo Chieftain and La Junta Tribune Democratic journalist James Bartolo can be contacted by email at [email protected]