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Villarreal finds many ways to serve community

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Luis Villarreal has taken his love of serving the community and extended it across all aspects of his life.

Villarreal, 47, is the CEO of Cactus Health Services, Inc., a Deacon for the Catholic Church-Diocese of San Angelo, and devoted member of the Fort Stockton community since 1994.

Villarreal originally grew up in Sanderson and remembers walking to the local church with his grandma.

He wasn't sure what he wanted to do in life because he wanted to do everything.

“I wanted to be a priest, I wanted to be a doctor, I wanted to heal people,” said Villarreal.

He went to the Sul Ross Sate University, went through a leadership class during a military bootcamp and finished with his bachelor's degree in science in biology with a minor in chemistry.

He thought he wanted to go to medical school or maybe be a biologist.

During this time he met his now wife, Yvette, and came to a realization that shifted his focus.

“The road you're going to take is only open to you by the one above,” said Villarreal. “He will always lead you back to the road you're supposed to be on.”

He started teaching Intermediate School science and then went on to help start the first alternative high school – the School of Choice – at the Butz Education Center.

He also served eight years on the Fort Stockton City Council, where he said he enjoyed working with the various boards.

“We were moving things and helping people in the community,” said Villarreal.

He realized during that time that he was called to do more and applied for the Deacon program.

“The passion I had for the community, the love of people and loving and serving our neighbors brought me there,” he said.

The Deacon program takes five years and in 2010 he was ordained.

“It was all worth it,” he said.

The program is built on three principals, word, alter and service, the latter being his favorite.

“Service to people, that's what I love to do,” he said. “If you asked what road it took to get me here it would be a road of service.”

He also helped with the Pecos County Memorial Hospital home hospice chaplain program from initial stage to full certification and hospice accreditation.

For 10 years he was on the board for Cactus Health Services, Inc. before becoming the CEO in 2015.

“I see the CEO position as a mission to serve as many people in as many communities,” said Villarreal. “There's a lot of people in need of health care.”

A principal he instills in the staff is customer service and the importance of giving the customers a laugh, smile or something to cheer them up.

“We try to meet all the opportunities for great customer service,” he said.

Now, Villarreal is waiting to hear where he will serve as Deacon. For now he fills in where he is needed.

He hopes to continue and grow his commitment to community with his wife and three kids.

“I hope I am still here as the clinic continues to grow and help more people,” said Villarreal.

He also hopes to grow spiritually and continue his mission of serving people and bringing people to Christ.

“I plan to grow and awaken that part even stronger,” he said.

He also wants to help be a stronger component in political avenues in Fort Stockton and get more involved.

“The more people stay out of it, the worse off it is for a lot of people,” he said. “Those who have the ability to stand up should do it.”

He hopes that the community will continue to strengthen and not just in the wake of tragedies.

“Can we walk that same path together again and everyday to make this community better,” said Villarreal.

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