J.T. Townsend remembered at Episcopal documentary screening


On Jan. 15, Casey DeSantis hosted a private screening of “Champion: The J.T. Townsend Story” on the campus of Episcopal High School, Townsend’s former school. DeSantis is the host of First Coast Living on First Coast News (WTLV12 and WXJJ25), and was the executive producer of the new documentary.

The one-hour documentary, which is available to view for free online at www.firstcoastnews.com, recounts the life and lasting impacts of J.T. Townsend. Townsend was a football player for the Episcopal Eagles in 2004 when he suffered a near-fatal spinal cord injury on the field. Townsend was 17 at the time of his injury.

Despite his injury, Townsend graduated from high school and later from the University of North Florida in 2013. Townsend passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in June 2013, but his legacy lives on through the work he began with the J.T. Townsend Foundation.

The J.T. Townsend foundation is a non-profit organization that provides adaptive equipment or comprehensive financial assistance for local families with a disabled child or family member – helping with everything from wheelchair ramps to pool heaters.

DeSantis interviewed Townsend’s friends and family, as well as the people who were touched by his life. She presented a private screening of the new film at the Munnerlyn Centre Theatre. Rob Mennie, President and General Manager of First Coast News, and Ty Votaw, Executive Vice President and Chief Marking Officer of the PGA Tour also spoke at the screening.

To watch the documentary, visit www.firstcoastnews.com. To learn more about the J.T. Townsend Foundation, visit www.jttownsendfoundation.org.