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MEET OUR LOCAL RESIDENTS, AND SEE WHY THEY CHOOSE TO MAKE ST. AUGUSTINE HOME

Photos by Addison Fitzgerald

Jim StaffordJim Stafford

WHY ST. AUGUSTINE? It was the history and the beauty of the city that first grabbed me about St Augustine. I was living in Virginia, but would drive down to visit my dad in Port St Lucie. I always stopped in St Augustine to walk around the Castillo or just have breakfast or lunch. I quickly realized how special and unique St Augustine is. After doing that for about ten years, I knew I belonged here, packed up the family and arrived for good in 2000.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE?

There are many things I have grown to appreciate more and more since we moved here. St Augustine has a wonderful community identity, something normally only found in small towns. We also have a disproportionately rich assortment of artists and musicians that continuously add to the cultural atmosphere we enjoy here. Our music scene is quite remarkable, from the many talented singer-songwriters to the always amazing lineup at the Amphitheater.

WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?

I have many passions, but my top four are spending time with my family, playing and listening to live music, anything at the beach (especially sunrise) and my work – I am so fortunate to do something I love. There’s nothing better than walking the beach with Sue and our chocolate lab Tiki, except maybe squirt gun battles with my grandsons. Life really IS better at the beach!

HOW DO YOU HOPE TO IMPACT OUR COMMUNITY?

I have always striven to find ways to help folks around us that need our compassion. We each have a responsibility to do so. Along with many clients and friends, we have successfully used music to give back to the community. One effort, our Holiday CD, will mark its 15th anniversary this year. I hope to always be able to continue similar efforts with Eclipse Studio and support efforts by others such as FOSAA and the Lions Club.

WHAT IS ONE PROBLEM YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOLVED?

I am ashamed at the hate and prejudice that still breeds in America. There is no place for such ignorance and intolerance in this great land. We are all the same in the eyes of God no matter how you worship, where your grandparents came from, what color your skin is or whom you choose to love. Just imagine what we could collectively achieve if we all looked to the future as One.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SAID IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Embrace the person to the Left of you as well as the person to the Right.

Jim Stafford is owner and Chief Conspirator of Eclipse Recording Company. As an audio engineer with 44 years of experience, he has recorded over 1000 CDS as well as performed forensic services for law enforcement, private citizens and attorneys. Originally from Texas, Jim has lived in Arizona, Hawaii and Virginia before settling here in 2000. What he enjoys most is being a father and grampa.


Jennifer & TJ SartianoJennifer & TJ Sartiano

WHY ST. AUGUSTINE? I’m a life timer but after college, St. Augustine’s “climate” drew me back; hence the historical influence, compassionate people, cuisine and beautiful water front surroundings. My husband moved to St Augustine in 2000 and has loved every minute of it. Whether it’s the beach, dining in our restaurants or just walking downtown. I do not think we could’ve picked a more idealistic place to live.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE? Family and connectivity and laid-back lifestyle.

For me it feels like home. The people in this area are our greatest resource. When you look at how our town came together to help those in need after the hurricane, it was truly a blessing to many.

WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?

Knowing that we can’t change the world, but we can change our corner of it thru kindness, and taking the time to understand each other’s hurdles, and stepping up. For us part of stepping up, is to spark others; especially youth; to tap into their birth talent and use it for the greater good. This would embody a healthy future for themselves regardless of their past. I love the saying, “your past never defines your future”.

For me, it is the ability to be a leading innovator enabling healthy communities. At Florida Blue, our Mission is to help people and communities achieve better health, and to be a part of driving healthcare in our community is really satisfying.

WHAT IS ONE PROBLEM YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOLVED? Judgment of others with a mental health diagnosis. The stigma is unwarranted, given that this is a non-curable health problem severely effecting our community. SAYS Mobile Crisis Response Team responded to 298 hotline calls from youth agencies last year, and St Johns County has the second highest youth suicide rate within the 5 surrounding counties.

The ability for all of us to show compassion and grace is a lost art nowadays. So many of us have been truly blessed in our lives and I think we forget how lucky we are. If everyone took a few minutes of their day to be compassionate towards one another, what a wonderful world it would be!

WHAT DO YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SAID IN TODAY’S WORLD?

In a world where you can be anything, be YOU. United we can do great things, divided we fall short.

We live in a country with great freedoms and opportunities in life. Let’s embrace each other and the servicemen and women who fight for that freedom every day. Respect our flag and what it stands for .

Jennifer Sartiano is Development Director at St. Augustine Youth Services, (SAYS). TJ Sartiano has held various leadership positions at Florida Blue for the past 7 years. Currently T.J. is the Sales Manager for the Federal Employee Plans for the State of Florida.


Dan & Bethany HilbertDan & Bethany Hilbert

WHY ST. AUGUSTINE?

Bethany: I moved here in 1999 to attend Flagler College. Small town life was a big adjustment for me at first, since I grew up in Miami, but after being here a few years, I became accustomed to the charm of St. Augustine and it’s slower pace and realized I could never go back to living in a big city.

Dan: Well, I came to Saint Augustine because of Bethany! I was working in Jacksonville at the Office of the State Attorney when I met the love of my life. In 2007, I decided to make the move down to St. Augustine with Bethany and fell in love with the town as well.

WHAT KEEPS YOU HERE?

Bethany: I love our community here. Although neither Dan nor I have extended family that live close by, we have truly built a group of friends that is like our family here in St. Augustine. We have wonderful neighbors and friends that are such a huge part of our lives and our children’s lives.

Dan: St. Augustine is a great town to raise a family and that’s our most important focus. Plus I love the small town feel mixed with “big city” type attractions, like the Amphitheatre, Alligator Farm, beach and all the great restaurants.

WHAT MAKES YOU TICK?

Bethany: Spending time with my family. We have a pretty active lifestyle that keeps us on the go most of the time. So, when we do have some down time, I love spending time just relaxing with them. I also love listening to a variety of music. We are pretty avid concert goers and spend a lot of time at the Amphitheatre and at other music festivals in town, my favorite being the Gamble Rogers Music Fest in May!

Dan: I spend most of my time either at work or with the family, but when I get some free time, I love to follow sports and read. I’ve been down here long enough to have invested in the love/hate relationship that is our Jacksonville Jaguars, but St. Louis Cardinal baseball comes first.

HOW DO YOU HOPE TO MAKE AN IMPACT IN OUR COMMUNITY?

Bethany: I think the biggest way I try and impact our community is through my job as an educator. I love being able to teach our youngest community members citizenship and kindness. It is also amazing to watch when my students are able to persevere after struggling with learning something new or challenging. The looks on their faces when the “lightbulb” comes on and they get it is priceless!

Dan: The greatest thing a person can give is the one thing we never get back: our time. That’s why I try to donate my time to organizations like the Rotary Club of St. Augustine and the Saint Johns County Sports Club. Professionally, I maintain a personal practice of having one pro bono (free) client at all times through our awesome St. Johns County Legal Aid.

WHAT IS ONE PROBLEM YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE SOLVED?

Bethany: I think one major problem that I would like to see solved is closing the economic disparity in the public school system in the United States. Public schools in impoverished communities, especially in urban areas, typically are at an economic disadvantage in relation to schools in more affluent areas. Due to this, it is harder for those schools to retain good teachers and provide the best learning environments for the students who need it the most.

WHAT DO YOU FEEL NEEDS TO BE SAID IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Bethany: Kindness and respect go a long way.

Dan: The difference between confidence and arrogance is ignorance.

Dan and Bethany Hilbert have been married for nine years and have two children (Grayson (6) and Sloane (3)) and one cuddly English bulldog (Bella). Dan is a lawyer with Canan Law practicing a variety of trial law to include auto accident, criminal defense and other civil litigation. Bethany is a first grade teacher at Ketterlinus Elementary school.

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