Dedication of Marty Russo Youth Athletic Park in MV

Ribbon Cutting Marty Russo Youth Athletic Park

This morning I attended the dedication of our Youth Athletic Park in memory of Marty Russo who worked for the Mission Viejo Company when our planned community was just building out. The park is located near the finish line of the 1984 Olympic Long Distance Cycling Road race that was held in Mission Viejo. As a 30 year employee of the Mission Viejo Company Marty played a major role, behind the scenes, in our development, especially in regard to our youth sporting activities.

One of the event speakers was Arthur Cook, former Community Activities Coordinator of the MV Co. When this proposal was being debated last fall, Arthur provided the following commentary on the Mission Viejo Dispatch that details why he believes this recognition is warranted. I would be remise not to mention that we have previously named some of our parks after former council members and a major player in the MV Company.

“Marty Russo, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 1960’s, is certainly an individual who deserves the recognition of having the Youth Athletic Park named after him. One of the primary reasons is because he assisted in the development of the many youth activities (especially Little League Baseball and American Youth Soccer Organization AYSO) during the early days of the community of Mission Viejo.

Philip Reilly & Mr. Mission Viejo “Ziggy”

Marty Russo moved to the new Community of Mission Viejo (La Paz Homes, Unit 2) in October 1966, just six months after the first resident moved in to new community, and continuously initiated activities for the betterment of the community of Mission Viejo.

Mr. Russo became the individual who coordinated Mission Viejo Company’s participation in:

· Numerous Youth Sporting Programs.
· Mission Viejo Youth Athletic Coordinating Council of which he was the co-founder and advisor.
· Community Events via the Mission Viejo Activities Committee.
· Administered company assistance efforts including charitable contributions and numerous Youth Team Sponsorships.
· He also initiated numerous Community Relations Programs that were important to establishing a strong community identity for the “New Town.”

Joe Holtzman and Peggy Russo

Mr. Russo also served on the Capistrano Unified School District school growth committee and the committee to improve schools in the San Joaquin School District (currently the Saddleback Unified School District). Marty and his wife Peggy were also involved in many School PTO programs in the late 1960 and early 1970’s.

Marty played a very important part in the historical development of youth sports in the community of Mission Viejo.”

Also in attendance was Philip J. Reilly who was on the original Board of Directors when the Mission Viejo Company was created in 1963. He served as Executive Vice President and later became the Mission Viejo Company President. Everyone wanted to have their photo taken with Mr. Reilly.

Marty Russo’s widow Peggy addressed the gathering of friends, family and former MV Company employees prior to the traditional ribbon cutting as she was surrounded by her family.

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