Madrid praises West leader

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By Don Pace

City Councilman Morris Madrid told the West Las Vegas School board at a recent meeting, “If it’s not broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed.”

Madrid said he was speaking as a parent as he praised Superintendent Jim Abreu and school board members.

“I want to say thank you for the experience that my oldest son Anthony receives every day here at West Las Vegas Schools. Every day when he comes home, he talks about coach Morgan, Ms. Bustos, Mr. Gonzales, or Mr. Parson, and it’s always something good. He comes home happy, he does well in school, and it comes from the caring he receives here at this school. I’ve never seen so much giving from such a good team, and I have respect for everyone of you,” Madrid said.

Madrid then said he wanted to share a story about two 10-year-olds, an event that happened 40 years ago and until now hasn’t been shared with the public.

“The Dons were going to play the Cardinals in football and at that time coach Frank Herrera used to have his players dress up in the old gym and they would lay on the floor in the dark and meditate as they readied themselves for the game,” Madrid said. “Then they would board the bus and head for Perkins Stadium for the game. That day Dons quarterback Michael Ludi decided that he would let two little boys live one of their dreams and let them ride to the stadium with the Dons.”

Madrid said Ludi told the two little boys to sneak on the bus and hide in the back. Once snuggled into their hiding place in the back of the bus, another player told Ludi that if the coach found the boys were on the bus, he would be mad, but the team captain told the boys to remain on the bus and he would take all the blame should coach Herrera find out.

“Those two little boys ran off the bus with the Dons and onto the sidelines as if they were a pair of Dons, which was their great dream. They got to be Dons a few years later and one of their sons is a Don right now. The captain of the team that intervened for those two little boys, out of caring and knowing what their dream was, was a guy named Jimmy, we now call him Dr. Abreu,” Madrid said.

The two boys  were Chris Ludi and Morris Madrid himself, Madrid said.  

“I tell you this story because coach Herrera, whom we all love and respect, chose Jimmy as his captain, and you’ve chosen him as your captain and you have a wonderful team — almost as good as the Dons were that year (1969) in football. I’m here to ask you as a parent and on behalf of a lot of parents, to keep this team together and to keep your captain. If there’s anything that I can ever do to help support this school, just name it, because I am still, and always will be, proud to be a graduate of West Las Vegas,” Madrid said.

Abreu later told the Optic that he was deeply humbled and grateful by Madrid’s story, “It brought tears to my eyes, that such a small act of kindness would be remembered after all these years. I was choked up.”

Abreu said the glory days for the Dons are far from over. He said the new Frank Herrera Complex will see a new generation of Dons experience the same kind of successes that he and former Dons have lived. In 1969, the Dons, with Abreu playing quarterback, went 11-0 in regular season play, losing to Lovington for the state championship before a home crowd at Perkins Stadium. That same year, the Dons basketball team went undefeated at 27-0, but also lost in the championship game.

In 1950, Abreu’s father, Ernest, was a Don football player the only other Dons team to be undefeated in regular season play.

Madrid said he spoke about Abreu publicly because he wanted continuity in the district.

Contract negotiations between Abreu and the board are expected in coming months.

A school board election happened earlier this month, and the board has one new member, David G. Romero.