After moving to Buena Vista in July 1996, Duff Lacy cannot imagine living anywhere else.
That notion extends to serving on the town board. Lacy was appointed as trustee just over 8 years ago after another trustee left. Afterward, he was officially elected into the position for two terms in a row.
“Somebody came up to me one day and said, ‘You need to get on the council.’ I’d never considered it, never thought about it,” he says.
Lacy’s father had served as county commissioner in Weld County, but getting involved in politics never even crossed Lacy’s mind. Nevertheless, he gave the position a try.
“You have your finger on the pulse, and you get to feel what’s going on around town,” Lacy says. “Once you get involved in that, it’s hard to just turn away and let it go. There’s so much going on.
“Before I went for my second term, I told somebody I was probably going to run again because there was so much to do.’ He said, ‘There will always be something to do.’ You’re always going to want to come back and keep that just because there’s so much going on, especially now.”
Serving as a town trustee is a major project, he says, but one he would recommend for anyone. “I still believe that everybody should take the opportunity to sit in the trustee chair so that you can see how it works and see what’s going on.”
Growing up, Lacy gained experience in agriculture with egg-laying hens, processing and distribution, putting together implements and doing repairs on equipment such as tractors. He enjoyed working with his hands.
“That’s kind of my background, always being the hands-on farm guy, keeping the equipment running and all the kind of stuff,” he says.
This lent itself to his present-day job.
Lacy eventually settled down with a wife and children in Greeley. While driving his truck to Alamosa to pick up a tractor for a company in Greeley, he was invited to stop for lunch in Buena Vista with his father.
“I had never heard of Buena Vista. Never. Didn’t even know it existed,” he says.
After taking in the small-town atmosphere, he decided this was where he wanted his children to grow up and graduate from high school.
“I grew up in a small town, so I wanted my kids to have those same opportunities,” he says. “That’s why we came to Buena Vista – small town atmosphere, everybody knows everybody.”
He especially liked how everyone looked after one another. “I got a phone call one time, and somebody let me know that my son had fallen through the ice at McPhelemy Park lake.”
Not only did he take a shine to the town, he also turned his attention to an auto business, Vista Brake and Tire, near the post office.
Noticing the growth and business opportunity in town, Lacy and his brother bought the business. Renamed Buena Vista Automotive, it was eventually relocated behind the Conoco station on Highway 24.
“In this area, we have to work on all makes and models, so you have to know a little bit about all of them; you can’t know a lot about just one,” Lacy says. “That kind of makes it difficult to keep up in that respect, but you do some schooling and you just try to keep playing the game. That’s probably the hardest part.”
Keeping up with the leaps and bounds of technology also makes the job challenging. Otherwise, he says, “The day-to-day routine is contacting people, dealing with people, making things right.”
It all pays off with the customer’s happiness. He enjoys talking to people and considers most of his customers friends. And when he can help his customers and make them happy, he finds fulfillment.
“That’s the way I treat them when they come in,” he says. “I know a lot of them very much so, a lot of them on a first name basis. It’s a small town so you’re going to know people, but it’s a feel-good thing when you fix their car for them and they’re happy when they leave, and they’re comfortable and safe.”
He has been contributing scholarship money for Buena Vista High School through his business for about 10 years. He has also made a point to donate to other organizations every year. Last year, he made a contribution to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg.
“It’s kind of nice to be able to do that,” he says. “I’d like to do more. You always want to do more. But it’s kind of a feel-good thing that you’re able to help somebody, so that’s why we do it.”
Now, Lacy is ready to relax and build a house at his favorite camping getaway in Park County.
He recently hired a new employee because business is currently booming.
“We can’t keep up, with the town growing the way it is,” he says. “I had 20 employees at one point in time and swore I’d never have them again, and here I am having to bring people on to help out. The town’s just growing, it’s getting amazing.”