John Cellucci is the chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Municipal Service District of Ponte Vedra Beach.
Can you please briefly tell us about your background?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia and came to live in Ponte Vedra Beach with my wife, MJ, by way of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, 32 years ago. After serving in the U.S. Navy on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam era, I spent the next 40 years in the insurance industry in various capacities. Along the way, I earned a number of professional insurance designations and my MBA.
It didn’t take long for me to love the lifestyle and sense of community in Ponte Vedra Beach. After retirement, I decided I wanted to give back to this great community. I became active by serving on the Ponte Vedra Sidewalk Connection Committee, which was instrumental in adding over two and a half miles of sidewalk along Ponte Vedra Boulevard. I also served on the Ponte Vedra Zoning and Adjustment Board prior to being elected as a trustee on the MSD Board, later serving as vice-chairman and currently serving as chairman.
What are your goals this year as chairman of the MSD Board?
The MSD works closely with the county to provide and supplement standard county services. My goal is to foster our relationship with the county and gain their support on the pressing issues that face the MSD. In addition to safety, beach renourishment is a top priority. Traffic, drainage, road maintenance, sanitation, beach access, water and sewage and lighting are among the other issues we address.
What do you enjoy most about serving on the Board?
I most enjoy meeting people — from MSD residents to county staff and elected officials. I also enjoy solving problems for individual MSD residents that later become beneficial to the community as a whole.
What have you found most surprising while serving on the Board?
What I have found most surprising is the time commitment required to fulfill the duties of being a trustee. I have a great deal of admiration and respect for all former and current trustees who volunteer their time and talent and tirelessly work at making this the delightful community that it is.
What do you enjoy most about living in Ponte Vedra Beach?
Wow — that is a hard question to answer. There are so many things to enjoy about this community that it’s difficult to identify one thing that I enjoy most. I grew up in big-city Philadelphia. In a million years I never dreamed God would bless me with living in such a welcoming and beautiful community. I love to watch the sun come up, walk on the beach looking for sharks’ teeth or just sit on the beach with a good book and listen to waves crashing on the shore.
What do you like to do in your free time?
MJ and I love spending our free time making memories with family. We have a large extended family in the Jacksonville area. We call it “Philly South.” We are blessed to have MJ’s parents also living in Ponte Vedra Beach. After visiting us several times, they decided to move here after their retirement. Now in their mid-90s, they have been here 26 years. MJ’s brother and our nieces and nephews are also close by. We even have a great, great nephew. So, when the family gets together, it is five generations and about 20 people. Needless to say, our big Italian family dinners are a little bit chaotic and a whole lot of fun. Spending time at the beach is part of the family tradition and looking for sharks’ teeth has become a competition. Who can find the most? Who has found the biggest one?
The Southern charm of Jacksonville has captivated us. Since moving here, we have made such wonderful friends. They are part of our extended family, and we love spending our free time with them, too.
Travel is something MJ and I also enjoy. During the past year, we have been to Italy and the Holy Lands (Israel and Jordan). In between those international trips, we went to Isle of Palms for our annual cousins’ reunion and to Augusta for the Masters. We are trying to decide where we’ll go in 2020. Wherever it is, I know we’ll enjoy it and we’ll always look forward to returning home to Ponte Vedra Beach.
Edited by Jon Blauvelt