Denver Human Services Honors Inaugural Human Together Unsung Heroes

Published on October 22, 2021

Denver Human Services (DHS) today honored an inaugural cohort of nine community leaders at its Human Together Unsung Heroes event. Based on community feedback in the DHS Community Conversations Report, the Human Together Unsung Heroes program creates opportunities to elevate and acknowledge leaders who are an integral part of the community yet are often unrecognized for their contributions to what makes Denver a great city.

“We are truly humbled to celebrate these leaders as the heroes that they are across Denver,” said DHS Executive Director Don Mares. “All of these individuals have created a positive impact and powerful ripple effect for future leaders to join them in the DHS Unsung Heroes program.”

An Unsung Hero is a leader who is seen by their community, both formally or informally, as playing an influential role to guide, inspire, or lead others. This includes leaders who are dedicated to solving some of their community's most pressing issues – food access, mental health supports, climate change, income inequality, or increasing opportunities for residents in under-resourced communities.

In August, community members were invited to nominate an Unsung Hero committed to the following values:

  • Leadership – exhibits a commitment to making a difference in the community
  • Impact – effectively produces positive change for those in need
  • Innovation – recognizes a need in the community and initiates changes to meet that need
  • Empowerment – dedicates considerable time to the development of others

This year’s Unsung Heroes include the following leaders who have served in or around Denver’s priority neighborhoods as identified in the Denver Human Services Index (Athmar Park, Barnum, Clayton, College View, Elyria Swansea, Globeville, Kennedy, Montbello, Ruby Hill, Sun Valley, Valverde, Villa Park, Westwood and Windsor): 

  • Abril Fuentes Guevara, United Way
  • Danny Johnson, The Coop at 1st
  • Dwayne Meeks, Urban Colors Arts and Mentoring
  • Cuica Montoya, Colorado Village Collaborative
  • Doretta Tootle, Thelma's Dream
  • Leah Wing, Jewish Family Services
  • Doug Wooley, Villa Park Neighborhood Association 
  • Marcela Piaz, COVA, Adelante Mujer, American G.I. Forum. LULAC. IMAGE.
  • Rosa Vergil, Una Mano Una Esperanza