Family, service and community provide a foundation for life for Hispano Chamber of Commerce President Romo Villegas. He says his six-year-old son, Dominic, a big motivator. “My son and I buy bundles of gloves and hats every Christmas, and we will go out and pass them around to the homeless. It’s part of teaching him to give back to the community.” The Villegas family Christmas tradition also includes taking his son to Ruidoso to cut down the Christmas tree.
Villegas was born in Las Cruces and came to Roswell with his family when he was two years old. He attended El Capitan Elementary, Sierra Middle School and Goddard High School, graduating in 1989.
Villegas was involved in sports in high school and remains so to this day. The entire family enjoys sports. “My son and I snow ski and water ski. My son wants to learn racquetball. My wife of 19 years, LaDawn [auth] ran in track during high school.”
Villegas is a member of the Noon Optimists. He is on the board of the S.O.Y. Mariachi. He coaches golf and Little League baseball. He is involved in the HOSTS program. “It stands for Help One Student To Succeed.” He goes into Washington Elementary every Thursday and reads to first-grade students from 8:15 – 8:45 a.m. “It’s great for the students.”
He referred to children as the hope of future. “It’s all about the children. Anything I can do, in some small part, to give them a better skills.”
Villegas service to his community began in 1993 when he went into the Army. He did two tours of duty in Saudi Arabia and left the military in 1997.
He attended New Mexico State University on the GI Bill and received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He worked for Doña Ana County Detention Center for a year as he studied for his degree. He was employed in state government. He returned to Roswell and eventually applied for a federal job.
Villegas started his own insurance agency, Romo Villegas Insurance, 416 N. Richardson, and began pursuing other interests formerly denied him.
“While working for state and federal government, I was not allowed to get involved in politics.” He agreed with the policy. “I think it’s important for a government official to be neutral.”
It is a policy he maintains to this day with the Hispano Chamber of Commerce. Villegas became president in 2012. “We try to keep the (Hispano) Chamber nonpartisan.”
According to Villegas, the primary purpose of the HCOC is to promote small businesses. “Both Chambers do that, but we serve a different demographic, but we encourage everybody to be members of both.”
Currently Villegas is taking the Leadership Roswell course with the Roswell Chamber of Commerce. He is enjoying the course and will complete it in May. “We went to the dairy, the university (ENMU-R) and the (Chaves County) Detention Center. My hat’s off to the guys of Probation and Parole. They are doing a great job.”
The group also went up to Santa Fe for the start of the new session, where Villegas and the other participants got a chance to talk to the state representatives and Senators.
Villegas views his work with both Chambers as investment in Roswell and the future, providing a strong community to hand to do the young. “It’s all part of giving back to the community. We want our small businesses here to succeed.”
In the future, he plans to start working with veterans, particularly the homeless. He spoke of the high rate of homelessness among former armed forces personnel. “I would like to support our local veterans, especially our new vets coming out of Iraq.”
Record Staff Writer