A look at people in our community

My Name Is ... Leo Ortiz

Englewood native and Vietnam veteran

Posted 4/1/19

A different time I was born in Englewood in 1948. We lived on the 4700 block of Bannock. Englewood used to roll the streets up at night. It was a great place to grow up. The police were totally …

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A look at people in our community

My Name Is ... Leo Ortiz

Englewood native and Vietnam veteran

Posted

A different time

I was born in Englewood in 1948. We lived on the 4700 block of Bannock. Englewood used to roll the streets up at night. It was a great place to grow up. The police were totally different. One time I got overserved at a bar and I was driving home, and I pulled over and was sitting on the hood of my car, and a policeman rolled up — and gave me a ride home. Today I'd be in jail.

When I went to Clayton Elementary, there were a thousand students there. It was during the Baby Boom. Englewood had eight grade schools back then, and they all had a football team. In fifth grade there were A,B, C and D teams because so many kids wanted to play football.

In the flood

When I was in high school, I was part of the Junior Red Cross, and during the flood of 1965, I helped set up cots at the high school. It was the only time in my life I saw power out in the whole town. Some of my friends stood on their roofs while their houses washed away beneath them. The emergency shelter filled up. People were afraid, wondering if their houses were gone.

Centennial Racetrack, along Belleview on the west side of the river, was wiped out. They found dead horses washed up inside the King Soopers across the street.

Englewood kids

My friends and I helped dig out Columbine Country Club. The people there were very nice to us. They were way richer than us Englewood kids, and they fed us country club food.

Englewood was a blue-collar town back then. It's a much more progressive place now. It's a city of transplants now — but hey, it's a great place to live.

Vietnam vet

I served in the Navy, and I was stationed in Da Nang in 1969 and 1970. It was just after the Tet Offensive, and we were worried there would be another. It never happened, though. I was assigned to the Fleet Air Support unit. We supported the aircraft carriers. I was a crew member on a C-117 cargo plane.

I lived my life, I enjoyed my life, but I wouldn't go back.

If you have suggestions for My Name Is, please contact David Gilbert at dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com.

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