Española Mayor John Ramon Vigil is thankful for a lot this year - not only in his job which he has held for eight months now, but also in his personal life.
As Thanksgiving approaches, he reminisces on past holidays and looks forward to the next.
“My family has always been united. Back when we owned the mortuary, we always had to be flexible in how we celebrated Thanksgiving because when you work in the funeral home industry, things fluctuate and change. My family always celebrated it together,” he said.
One Thanksgiving tradition he feels is special is the red chile sauce his grandmother used to make that has been passed down to his mother.
Another tradition he loves takes place after dinner has been served and eaten, when the entire family gathers around to listen to traditional Spanish music.
Vigil hopes to spend this Thanksgiving with his family at his uncle’s home in Albuquerque because - as he said - the most important thing about thanksgiving is, “Unity. Bringing together the family.”
He said his favorite meal is turkey paired with that special red chile sauce and mashed potatoes with gravy.
“And yes - I’m one of those people that likes corn on top of my mashed potatoes,” Vigil said.
The holiday has made Vigil think about all he is thankful for, such as “good health, the blessings of my family and all the gifts that God gives me day in and day out.”
Despite a busy past eight months, he is also thankful for his job, which he said was a childhood dream of his. There are difficulties, of course, and he said the biggest problem has been trying to grow the budget and provide the quality services that the citizens deserve.
However there has been a lot of success in his eyes as well.
“I believe we’ve put administrators in roles that understand budgets and understand necessities and they understand investments. I believe that by next fiscal year ... we’ll be ready to move forward in that aspect,” Vigil said. “We’ve made progress in terms of how we structure the budget differently. And I attribute a lot of that to our city manager.”
And there is a lot he is thankful for concerning Española, including the increased number of officers working in the police department, the leadership of Police Chief Mizel Garcia, the capability of City Manager Jordan Yutzy to guide the city through the solid waste crisis and the return of the fiesta in Española.