The mission of the Pueblo Medal of Honor Foundation is to preserve and expand the memorial dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients; to advance the history of the Medal of Honor; honor the legacy of those who have received the Award nationwide; to promote democratic ideals; and encourage among the people of the United States, and especially it’s youth, citizenship, character, integrity and selflessness as epitomized by the Medal of Honor.
John Verna is a retired Pueblo businessman who played a major role on the Pueblo Medal of Honor Convention Committee to help with the placement of the Medal of Honor Memorial in it’s current location at the Convention Center, then as co-chairman of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s 2000 Convention as well as major fundraiser to ensure the success of the 2000 Convention and again with the success of the 2003 Family and Friends of the Medal of Honor Convention.
John is a native Puebloan who attended Pueblo Central High School. He served in the Navy from 1951 to 1959. John was in several businesses but in 1963 he bought the World of Stone Co., a company he helped form in 1960 with partner Henry Gilmore. John served on the Pueblo City council and has been, and still is, on many boards and commissions. Now retired from Big John’s World of Stone and Stoves he is still extremely active in the community. He has been a part of many positive changes in Pueblo, Colorado.
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Jeff Chostner is Pueblo County District Attorney, who is a retired Colonel with the US Air Force. Jeff graduated from Pueblo East High School and attended the University of Colorado, then the University of Mississippi Law School and the Air War College. He was with the Judge Advocate staff through most of his military career. He retired in 2001 and returned to Pueblo to practice law.
Jeff served on the Pueblo City Council from January 2004 through November 2006. He recently serving as a Pueblo County Commissioner. He has many community and military boards he is associated with and is the current chairman of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee at the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce.
He has been involved with the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association for several years.
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Paulette Stuart retired in 2010 as the Promotions Manager for The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper. She is a native of Walsenburg, Colorado, attended Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo (now CSU- Pueblo) and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science. After working with the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, she was offered the job as Promotions Manager for the Chieftain in 1987. She became involved with the Medal of Honor when her Chieftain owner and publisher Bob Rawlings wanted her to help in 1995 with a gathering of Medal of Honor recipients who were invited to Pueblo for a 4th of July activity. It was one of several Medal of Honor gatherings held in Pueblo. She helped formulate the plans for the memorial that was planned to honor Pueblo’s four Medal of Honor recipients.
She was the Convention Chairman for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s 2000 Convention held in Pueblo in September of 2000 and has been on the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association, now Pueblo Home of Heroes Association since it began.
She is involved with many facets of tourism promotion in Pueblo and southern Colorado, as well as being a member of the Spanish Peaks Community Foundation in her hometown of Walsenburg.
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Doyle Cooper is from Blackwell, Oklahoma. He graduated from Blackwell High School and joined the Navy during the Vietnam War. He is a graduate of Southern Colorado State College, (now CSU-Pueblo). Doyle began teaching in Pueblo in 1973 and learned that Pueblo had four living Medal of Honor recipients. He added this information to his US history curriculum he taught for 34 years. During that time he discovered that a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient, Warren C. Dockum, was buried here in Pueblo at Roselawn Cemetery and each year he and his history class spent time cleaning the gravesite at Roselawn and reminding his students and others of the importance of our veterans and military heroes and the sacrifice they have made to maintain our freedom.
Doyle also played a large part in the Congressional Medal of Honor Society 2000 Convention making sure Pueblo’s youth were all involved in some fashion with the celebration. Over 680 students were active participants in the 25 activities happening during that convention.
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Darren Cooper is one of our newest Board Members. He is a Pueblo native who graduated from Pueblo South High School. He is a graduate of Pueblo Community College and attends CSU-Pueblo. He works at KOAA TV studios as an editor/director.
With a father like Doyle Cooper, who has taught about the Medal of Honor throughout his career, it isn’t any wonder that Darren has a great feeling about wanting to honor these men and women who have given so much for their country and serving on our Pueblo Home of Heroes Association has given him an outlet to help. He brings a younger perspective to the group and one we hope will help us relate to younger people with the message of patriotism and honoring our true heroes.
Ed DeRose has recently joined our Board of Directors. Ed is a graduate of Pueblo Centennial High School and of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Ed served in the US Army.
He began his dental practice in 1961 along side his father Bruno DeRose. They were later joined in practice by one of Ed’s sons Michael, making it a three generation practice. They have a reputation in Pueblo of not turning anyone away and subsequently created a dental practice in eight states which dealt with dentistry for low income children.
This dental group recently sold and again DeRose and his sons have reinvested in Pueblo in many areas especially at CSU-Pueblo to encourage a football, wrestling and women’s track and field programs to be reinstated. The family is very involved with Pueblo and it’s future growth.
Andy Hauk, the newest member of the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association, was born in Philadelphia. He retired in 1994 from the US Air Force and spent his career as an Education and Training Manager with his last position as the Chief Instructor teaching Satellite Operations Instructors how to instruct.
Andy has a background in restaurant and higher education management. He received a BA in History/Political Science from the University Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2002 and an MBA from Colorado Technical University in 2006. In 2004 he started with Colorado Technical University as the 1st National Admissions Representative and eventually created 8 member teams and became Associate Director of Admissions for Doctorate Studies and was the Pueblo Site Director for 2 years. Presently Andy is a working fulltime on his Doctorate of Management in Organizational Development and Change. He expects to graduate in June 2013.
He assisted with the Pueblo Home of Heroes Golf Tournament in 2011 and 2012 and has been interested in the health,welfare and education of returning military. He adds a depth to the Association with his knowledge of the needs of returning veterans.
He is the Past President for Colorado Junior Chamber of Commerce, is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Pueblo and serves as a board member for the Bessemer Historical Society.
Abel Manzanares is a graduate of St. Mary High School in Walsenburg, Colorado. He attended Southern Colorado State College (now CSU-Pueblo) and Adams State College. He worked as a hospital administrator for the Colorado Mental Health Institution in Pueblo and is currently a realtor with Jones-Healy.
Abel helped with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society 2000 Convention and the Family and Friends of the Medal of Honor Convention since he was a sales rep on staff at the Convention Center at the time. He has been instrumental in creating an atmosphere of respect for the military as well as a greater understanding among the staff members at the Pueblo Convention Center of the importance of the Medal of Honor Memorial.
Abel works tirelessly in the community for a positive Pueblo and is also on the Board of the Salvation Army.
Roy Miltner was born in Eastern Pennsylvania and grew up in New Jersey. He received a degree in Forestry from Paul Smith’s College in upper New York state, and after working for two years as a land surveyor, went back to college and seminary in Gettysburg, PA to become a Lutheran pastor. He served in New Jersey, Colorado, and Iowa before retiring in Pueblo in 1998.He has volunteered with Colo. Div. of Wildlife, United Way, Friends of the Library, El Pueblo Museum, Weisbrod Aircraft Museum, and the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association. Roy is currently a trustee of the Pueblo City/County Library District.
A graduate of Pueblo County High in 1957, Rudy Padula went on to Puelo Junior College, the University of Denver and Creighton University Dental School. He began his dentristy career in 1964. He worked in his dental practice until 2006 when he retired. Along the way he was a member of the American Dental Association, the Colorado Dental Association, the Southeastern Colorado Dental Society and retired founding member of the Southeastern Colorado Dental Study Club. He worked in the community by supporting PEDCO as a member as well as the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, the Pueblo Zoo and the YMCA.
Rudy is a member of Friends of Football and a major contributor to CSU-Pueblo, and a member of the CSU-Pueblo Foundation.
In July of 2007 he purchased and started the refurbishing of the Waterfront Building at 101 S. Main Street along the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo. Today is houses the Center for American Values of which Rudy is a founding donor.
Ray Pusedu graduated from Pueblo Central High in 1953 and was an outstanding othlete in baseball, football and wrestling. He served four years in the US Marine Corps and attended the University of Denver after the Marines.
Upon his return to Pueblo Ray went to work for the Pueblo Army Depot. In addition, Ray was owner of Sam & Ray’s Pizza and the Red Dolly Casino in Black Hawk, as well as investments in real estate.
Ray is known in Pueblo for his leadership in the expansion of Runyon Field which allowed more kids access to baseball and allowed Pueblo to be the location for hundreds of tournaments. Ray also started the South High Booster Club which helps raise money for sports and other programs at South High.
In 1981 Ray and his close friends started the Italian Invitational Golf Tournament. This tourney draws nearly 800 golfers to Pueblo for 2 days and the proceeds go to golf and academic scholarships at CSU-Pueblo.
Marvin Stein is a Pueblo native who graduated from Centennial High School and the University of Colorado in Boulder. He has made a mark for himself for being a long-time recognized leader in the wholesale food industry on state, regional and national levels. It is his home town that Marvin Stein has given to so generously with his time and financial support for the benefit of more than a dozen noteworthy causes. He has spent countless hours over the years working with the military on concerns of our city and region. Marvin helped with the financial success of our Congressional Medal of Honor Convention 2000 Committee as well as the 2003 Family and Friends of the Medal of Honor Convention.
Jim Stuart is a native of Pueblo. He is a graduate of Pueblo Central High School. Jim began his career as an employee of Sparkleton Photo processing plant in Pueblo as Wholesale Products Manager and buyer for 16 years, and then moved on to become Assistant to the President of Estes Industries, the worlds largest manufacturer of Model Rockets. For the next 30 years he was part owner and CEO for of Sangray Corporation in Pueblo, a business that manufactured and marketed giftware throughout the US and several foreign countries.
Jim was an invaluable member of the Pueblo Committee who helped plan and implemented each of the events during the Congressional Medal of Honor Society 2000 Convention here in Pueblo.
Since his retirement from Sangray Corporation in 2001, he has taken an active roll in Pueblo. He served eight years as Chairman of the Community Services Advisory Commission, six years on the Roselawn Board of Trustees and is currently a trustee of the Pueblo City/County Library District, and is also Chairman of the Pueblo Library Foundation, and an active member of Friends of the Library as well as manager of the Friends Books Again used bookstore.
Bob Rawlings is the owner and publisher of The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper and a WWII Navy man. In 1995 he felt he needed to do something to create a permanent memorial to Pueblo’s four Medal of Honor recipients, Bill Crawford, Carl Sitter, Raymond “Jerry” Murphy and Drew Dix. His energy and enthusiasm for the project encouraged many in the community to participate when it was announced that the Congressional Medal of Honor Society would have their convention in Pueblo in 2000. His passion about this project encouraged his newspaper staff to create some of the best newspaper coverage received by any convention. He also has set up a fund through the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association for perpetual maintenance and promotion of the memorial.
Mr. Rawlings is a third generation owner of the newspaper which has been in Pueblo since 1868. His daughter Jane joined him at the helm and The Pueblo Chieftain is one of only a few family owned newspapers in the United States.
He has the distinction of being the Honorary Chairman of this Foundation.
Ruben Archuleta was born in the San Luis Valley in the little town of Antonito, Colorado. After graduation from Antonito High School in 1962, he joined the US Navy and went to Vietnam. After four years in the Navy he returned to the area and began college at Southern Colorado State College in Pueblo. Ruben maintained his connection with Navy and Air Force for fifteen years through the reserves.
In 1968 he joined the Pueblo Police Department and eventually got his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.. His career with the Pueblo Police Department took him through the ranks, into the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, to the FBI National Academy and he was asked to serve on many prestigious law enforcement programs throughout the state and nation. He became Pueblo Police Chief in 1995 and retired in 1999.
Ruben helped with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society 2000 Convention in Pueblo, as well as other gatherings in the area that have involved Pueblo’s four Medal of Honor recipients.
Gradually Ruben has gotten off many boards and committees except the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association, and he concentrates on writing books, magazine articles, gives motivational presentations and exhibits his stone and wood sculptures. He has just written his fourth book.
Bob Rice is a retired public accountant who has not stopped working for the community even if he’s retired.
Bob was born in Manchester, NH in 1927. He attended high school in Weare, New Hampshire. In 1944 Bob and his buddies joined the US Navy after his junior year of high school. He was in the Navy from 1944 through 1946. While his high school class was graduating he was involved in the battle of Okinawa. After the war, Bob signed up with the Navy Reserve in New Hampshire and took classes at the Hesser Business College and New England College. He married his wife, Micki, in 1948.
In 1951 he was called up for Korea. While waiting for his orders he brought his wife and one son to Colorado to be with family when he finally got his orders. While waiting, he worked in the accounting department of CF&I Steel Corp in Pueblo, then as an office manager for a lumber yard. He never did get his orders and two years later was discharged. He took his CPA classes and opened his own firm.
He’s been a fixture on the Pueblo business scene ever since.
Bob has been involved with JayCees of Pueblo, Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, Pueblo Exchange Club, Pueblo Rotary #43, Colorado Public Accountant Society, American Legion, VFW, Rocky Mountain Boy Scouts Council, Pueblo County Library Board, and the Lamb Foundation as well as the Pueblo Home of Heroes Association.