I have been living in Jacksonville Florida for a little over 2 years; I am one of those “snowbirds” referred to by many Florida natives. I originate from Philadelphia, Pa; the snow is a bitter friend who visits every year around the same time. I have shoveled the aftermath of many snow storms and blizzards in my life and in the winter of 2014 I had finally had enough.
I remember the first palm tree I drove past as I entered Northeast Florida. My family and I were so excited. We could not wait to visit our first Florida beach. After we settled in, we were amazed by the landscape and the natural beauty of Jacksonville. The streets were very clean; the skyline was filled with tall buildings and the St. Johns River was breathtaking. We settled in very well; my young daughter loved the fact that she could actually play outside during the winter months. My wife was also happy that there was a ton of things to do in Jacksonville. Up north when it’s cold, you don’t want to be outside. Beaches are ghost towns and your life exists inside, moving to Florida meant that we could enjoy outside all year round.
Our first time seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars play in the EverBank Field was truly amazing. The fans were similar to my beloved Philadelphia Eagles fans, and I too caught the Jaguar fever. Jacksonville has the largest concentration of veterans in the U.S. so finding local veterans organizations was extremely easy. I developed a love for golf thanks to the Wounded Warrior Project’s outreach coordinator Chris Dacy. Chris invited me to play in a veteran’s golf tournament in Jacksonville, and I fell in love with the sport. In Philadelphia, we don’t have access to many beaches, and the golf courses shut down for the winter months. The people in Jacksonville were very friendly and welcoming to my family. We soon developed long lasting relationships with friends who made us feel as if we were right at home.
I could not have found a better place to start my technology business (Tech From Vets). Jacksonville is filled with people that want to see the city grow into a technological metropolitan of the brightest minds and the most innovative businesses. “I love Jacksonville because it’s a friendly community. Additionally, I have seen the city constantly innovate and modernize to really create a vibrant and wonderful city,” said Brandon Sugar President of Sugar Unlimited. One of my favorite places to eat is at Joe’s Crab Shack in Jacksonville Beach. I love eating seafood while feeling the breeze from the ocean. Every winter I send my extended family in Philadelphia pictures of my daughter on the beach having fun, I see it as a reminder of the enjoyment of living in Jacksonville. Having attended over 13 football games in Jacksonville, I have secretly converted into a Jaguars fan. I love the work that Shahid Khan is doing to revitalize the city. The Jacksonville Business Journal has also been very kind by featuring my business in their digital publication.
I love Jacksonville; I am proud to be a Floridian. I encourage everyone to vacation and visit Jacksonville Florida. I am sure that if you take my advice and visit Jacksonville you will fall in love with the city too.
Dr. Shuford has many accomplishments and achievements to his name, a couple of those being decorated U.S. Army veteran, award-winning writer for the Huffington Post, Business.com & Buzzfeed. Dr. Shuford has been featured in the Jacksonville Business Journal, Huffington Post, and Upstart Business Journal to name a few. He was recently awarded the Disabled American Veterans Community of Heroes Award and he earned the prestigious Combat Action Badge at age 19 while serving in Bagdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-07. He is now a marketing consultant for a multi-million dollar real estate corporation, as well as the founder of the ever-growing award-winning veteran-owned technology company Tech From Vets.