2021 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
The Alumni Foundation selected four individuals to be inducted into its 2021 Hall of Fame class including Darrel Contreras, ’71, Russell DeSalvo, ’87, Ted Hernandez, ’80, and Elizabeth Villegas, '66.
Darrel Contreras, a graduate from Pueblo County High School in 1971. His wife Katie and their four children are Hornet alumni and their 10 grandchildren look forward to continuing that tradition. Darrel has far surpassed all expectations with a high degree of success. A lifelong Avondale resident, Darrel has devoted his life to philanthropy and betterment of his community. Some of his contributions include Parish Council President, Avondale Water Board President, creator of the Avondale clean-up, and organizer of the annual Easter egg hunt. He was a youth coach and mentored youth from the Avondale/Vineland community. He was a founding member of the MINDS (Minorities Interested in the Need to Develop Scholastics) and was active in organizing the Veteran’s Day Parade for the Avondale community.
His unwavering support and passion for the community is remarkable as he continues to help whenever a need arises. He is the definition of an outstanding citizen and role model for many in the community and is deserving of this recognition for the outstanding citizen he is!
Russell DeSalvo is a 1987 graduate of Pueblo County High School. He graduated with honors and pursued his undergraduate education at Colorado State University Pueblo. His academic skills developed rapidly leading him down a career path of entrepreneurism, executive leadership, and community involvement. Russell DeSalvo is currently the President and CEO of PuebloPlex, the Local Redevelopment Authority for the Pueblo Chemical Depot.
Russell has worked in the public sector for the U.S. Department of Labor and The Federal Reserve Bank. His private sector experience includes over 25 years of real estate development, construction, finance, property management, and brokerage. His lengthy list of professional affiliations and community involvement activities include past and present service on numerous boards including the Pueblo Economic Development Corporation, Association of Defense Communities, Colorado State University Pueblo Foundation, Legacy Bank Advisory Board and Colorado State University System Board of Governors. He was recently appointed Treasurer of the Colorado State University System Board of Governors. As stated by Mr. Todd Kelly, “Mr. DeSalvo has been a friend and colleague of mine for over 30 years. Throughout the years there have been few individuals who have given more to Pueblo in regards to promoting economic development, education and the betterment of our community.”
Ted Hernandez grew up in Pueblo County, his childhood in Boone and teen years on 32nd Lane. He was a member of Pueblo County High School Class of 1980, where he played football, wrestled and was in Choir, Band and Drama. He attended University of Southern Colorado, studying music. In 1983 he left the university and began working at Spectrum Community Services (Sharmar), launching a career that has spanned 38 years and seen his rise from direct care provider to building, with his brother Mark, the largest private service provider agency in Colorado.
Ted and his wife Marla have four sons, four daughters-in-law and five grandchildren. As a community leader Ted is always recognizing ways to give back, through soliciting names through Facebook for individual gift card donations during the holidays to Spectrum’s proud sponsorship of the Special Olympic. His philanthropy has resulted in individual donations of over $1,000,000 to sports and arts organizations in Pueblo. His continued generosity has always been focused on helping kids achieve their goals, their dreams.
Elizabeth Villegas, this tiny powerhouse of a woman, graduated in 1966. A daughter, an aunt, a sister, a colleague, and a friend to many. Her most impactful role for 24 years was that of a teacher and coach at Pueblo County. While her passion was volleyball, she coached track, gymnastics, and basketball. “Coach V” instilled into her players a sense of family along with a killer instinct and a fight to the finish mentality, and most importantly that they NEVER EVER QUIT. Under her leadership, they were 7-time League Champions and had many regional and state play-off appearances. Beth Lancaster, owner of Lancaster Chiropractic states this about Coach V, “She was not only the best coach I ever had the honor of playing for, but a mentor that shaped my life. She shaped who I am as an athlete, as a coach and a woman.” Liz Villegas was the Latino Chamber of Commerce Hispanic Teacher of the year, League Volleyball Coach of the year on numerous occasions, and posthumously inducted into the Greater Pueblo Sports Association Hall of Fame.
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