Honoree for contributing to city is no surprise

SANTA FE, NM – Don’t look! Think for a minute, who would you name as Santa Fe’s model citizen?

Every luminary in town appeared at Hotel Santa Fe, Hacienda & Spa for the presentation event as Christus St. Vincent’s Hospital honored one exemplary citizen for the contribution he or she makes to our community. This year’s honoree was no secret, and quite honestly no surprise when one heard who won it.

I certainly found myself thinking, “Yep, I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Buddy Roybal!” He can add this award to the wall with all the others he’s accumulated. You can spend half an hour looking! Buddy has been honored by every organization you can think of, from the Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce to the U.S. Chamber, the Small Business Administration, the Anderson School of Business, Rotary Club, Sam Walton’s business achievement award, just recalling a few, and every charity in Santa Fe. He told me his “most precious award” is his “Ten Who Made A Difference” designation.

But I never knew his story until his introduction speech by Mark Oswald, eloquent editor of Journal North. The nutshell version is true rags-to-riches: success earned honestly through hard work, vision and dedication. A real-life inspiration for kids, teens and the discouraged to look up to … Wow, if Buddy did it, I can do it!

In 1984 Buddy Roybal left his job as a salesman at a local paint store to open his own business, Coronado Paint and Decorating. To raise the capital he sold his one asset, his beloved pearl white 1964 Corvette ( and a moan went through the crowd ). Long days, late nights, scrimping … He had recently married Irene and her four little kids, and to save money they all lived behind the store. Well they don’t anymore, and try to guess what Buddy drives now?

Buddy’s store is Santa Fe’s go-to place for floors and decorative elements. Maybe it’s because Buddy has for so long been so active in the community and connected on so many levels. For many, many years he has served on the boards of banks, the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Christus St. Vincent’s Hospital, and now the Historic Design Review Board. And every year Buddy orchestrates, operates and underwrites his own Plaza Clean-Up Day, when he provides equipment and paint from Coronado and drums up the volunteers to spruce up the gazebo, benches, and lamp poles on the historic Santa Fe Plaza! Buddy’s idea … Buddy’s initiative.

About 150 friends, colleagues, community leaders, and a few Santa Fe characters (There aren’t many left, have you noticed? We’re running out of Winnie Beasleys and Tommy Maciones.) enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres and libations at the end of the day in the beautiful dappled Santa Fe autumn light on the patio, (Lordy, we’re lucky to live here!) to watch Buddy be honored, share in recognizing him, and toast his achievements.

And when the party was over, Irene and Buddy got into his 2014 ‘Vette and drove into the sunset with Buddy’s newest award.

Ashley Margetson has a B.A. in English from UCLA, is a senior real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty and has a finger on the pulse of philanthropic activities in Santa Fe. To tell us about an upcoming event, email apm@ashleymargetson.com.


Former Mayor Larry Delgado and his wife, Angie, smile for the camera.


Former Mayor David Coss and his wife, Carol Rose, join the festivities.


The Santa Fe Symphony’s Greg Heltman and Elaine Heltman.


Mary Amelia Howell joins the tribute to the Roybals.


Eloquent Journal North editor Mark Oswald leads the presentation.


Irene and Buddy Roybal accept an award for philanthropy.


Outgoing hospital CEO Bruce Tassin and his wife.


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