St. Augustine City Manager John Regan was recently presented with the Order of Isabel la Católica by the government of Spain.
The honor, presented with the royal sanction of King Felipe VI, was awarded Sept. 9 at City Hall by Candido Creis, consul general of the Kingdom of Spain in Miami. The honor recognized Regan’s contributions to cultural exchanges between Spain and the United States, including his work commemorating the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine.
Shortly after being appointed city manager in 2010, Regan’s responsibilities grew with the approaching 450th anniversary. Under his leadership, the city undertook a four-year series of events, programs and projects highlighting the historical and cultural achievements of the city and in particular those relating to the city’s ties to Spain. The multi-year commemoration closed with a five day series of events that drew thousands to the city for free concerts and a reenactment of the founding of the city attended by a wide array of national and international guests and officials from September 4-8, 2015.
The commemoration culminated with a visit by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, whose visit coincided with a meeting in St. Augustine of the Spain-U.S. Council led by Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. The annual meeting of the prestigious group of international leaders came about in large part because of efforts led by Regan.
The Order of Isabel la Católica was created in 1815 with the intent of rewarding Spanish citizens and foreigners who contribute to the enhancement of Spain’s relations with the nations of the Americas.
In his remarks, Consul General Creis praised Regan’s devotion to his work, his efficiency, and as a great and true friend of Spain, adding “He is a wonderful honorary ambassador, active and discreet, helpful as always, thinking of ways to promote better understanding between Spain and the U.S.”
Regan was named city manager following more than 12 years as the city’s utilities director and then a stint as chief operations officer.
“Commemorating the 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine was a great opportunity to reinvigorate our city’s ties with Spain and our common history,” Regan said. “This recognition is truly for all the people of St. Augustine who every day, each in their own way, express their pride in the Nation’s Oldest City and its very unique history.”