South football shows dedication to first responders

Friday’s “First Responders Night” presented by Lobo’s along with Pueblo South High Football was a success.

South High School, in conjunction with Lobo’s Tacos & Tequila, provided an opportunity to help raise funds for the family of an officer injured in the line of duty. From the proceeds of Friday’s “First Responders Night,” the restaurant will donate a portion of the proceeds to benefit Officer Jonathan Bell, a Pueblo Police Officer in recovery from a shootout in April. 

Ryan Goddard, South High School’s head football coach, came up with the idea for First Responders Night last spring after Officer Jonathan Bell was wounded.

“These are the heroes in our community. We want them to be recognized and valued,” Goddard said. “We wanted to find a home game early, something around 9/11, so we can honor all of our first responders.” 

A first responder is a person with specialized training who is among the first to arrive and provide assistance at the scene of an emergency. First responders are on the front line of accidents, natural disasters and terrorist attacks and are a vital part of the community. First responders typically include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers and firefighters. 

Owner of Lobo’s Tacos & Tequila, Michael Colarelli, graduated from South High School in 2004.

“(Coach) Ryan was a senior when I was a freshman at South,” Colarelli said, “and my cousin Luke and I have the same number, 3.” Colarelli is related to South starter Luke Guarienti.

The “First Responders Night” could be the first of many.

“We’re going to try and turn this into an annual thing,” Goddard said. “One of our program goals is to be able to give back to our community that supports us.” Goddard said he has plans to expand on the idea in the future, but the immediate focus is on Friday’s First Responders Night. 

“We’ve got honor guards from the Pueblo Police department, the Sheriff’s Department and the Fire Department which will present our nation’s colors,” Goddard said prior to Friday’s game with Palmer Ridge. “It’s going to be a good night.”

Prior to serving with Pueblo Police, Officer Bell served active duty in the U.S. Army Infantry for three years, including a tour in Afghanistan. He currently serves with the Army National Guard.

Earlier this month, Bell was the recipient of this year’s Adsit Strong Rise and Run 5K, hosted in Douglas County. Adsit Strong was started by Denver police Officer John Adsit, who was severely injured in the line of duty in Dec. 2014. 

Melanie Velasquez

Melanie Velasquez is studying mass communications with an emphasis on journalism at Colorado State University-Pueblo. She enjoys photography and gardening, and prefers writing stories about people who hide in life’s shadows. Velasquez is a Colorado native and enjoys traveling with her husband.

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