Tim Crosby is a strategic partnerships manager at K9s For Warriors and a longtime resident of Ponte Vedra Beach.
Can you please tell us about your background?
I grew up in Augusta, Georgia, so it’s probably fitting that I ended up in Ponte Vedra, the Mecca of professional golf! I graduated from Augusta College (now Augusta University) with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and spent five years there as sports information director (SID). I left to attend graduate school at Georgia Southern, and after getting my master’s in sport management, I stayed on as assistant SID through two I-AA national football championships (under the great Erk Russell) and a pair of postseason basketball appearances. I came to Ponte Vedra in 1988 to work at the PGA Tour, initially as media director for the Senior Tour — a dream job for me because I worked with the legends that I grew up watching at the Masters — and then in a variety of tournament-related roles on both the Senior Tour and PGA Tour. I left after 23 years and stayed in the sports industry for two years as associate commissioner at the Atlantic Sun Conference, the league that includes JU and UNF as members.
During my tenure at the A-Sun, I got to know the folks at Wounded Warrior Project and saw the great work they were doing for our veterans and their families, so I jumped at the opportunity to join the WWP team, and get involved with veterans services. While there, I had the good fortune to connect with K9s For Warriors, where I have been for two and a half years. Thanks to the incredible support of my wife, Tess, I have been able to enjoy a wonderful professional career doing the things I love most: sports and giving back. Our two children were both athletes in St. Johns County high schools, and both still live in Northeast Florida. Our daughter, Taylor, works for a Ponte Vedra-based media and marketing services agency and manages social media for ESPN tennis at Grand Slam events, and our son, Keenan, works in the financial services industry.
What are your roles and responsibilities at K9s For Warriors?
My primary responsibilities at K9s For Warriors include researching, developing, cultivating and maintaining relationships and sponsorships with corporate partners, small business supporters, major donors, community groups and other veterans service organizations. One of the beauties of being part of the K9s team is the amazing collaboration that gives me the opportunity to work with teammates in every aspect of our operation.
What do you enjoy most about working at K9s?
I always tell people that as much as I enjoyed my career in the sports business, as you get older, it becomes increasingly important to do something that makes a difference. What we are doing at K9s For Warriors really matters, and I have never been involved in anything as fulfilling as what we do. To see firsthand the change in a veteran with the invisible wounds of war from the time he or she is paired with a service dog to graduation three weeks later is indescribable. What I am doing is as much for me as it is for the dogs we rescue and the warriors who are given a chance to live a normal life. I like to say that it feeds my soul.
When you reflect back on your time with K9s, do you have a favorite experience or story you can tell us about?
We have more than doubled the number of warrior-dog team graduates since I have been with K9s For Warriors, and every one of them is unique and gratifying. But I will always remember my first K9s graduation ceremony. It was my first week on the job and frankly, I really didn’t really know what I was supposed to do or where to station myself as the warrior-dog teams came up one-by-one to be honored and to receive their credentials. I ended up standing at the back of the courtyard where the ceremony was taking place, and there was a young woman with two boys standing in front of me. I’d guess that the boys were about 8 or 10 years old. As one of the warriors walked up to receive his graduation certificate, one of the boys tugged on the woman’s sweater and said, “Look Mom, Dad is smiling. I haven’t seen him smile in a long time.” I knew then I was in the right place. It was unforgettable, and I still get a tear in my eye thinking about it.
What do you enjoy most about living in Ponte Vedra?
Ponte Vedra is the ideal place to raise a family. It was still kind of a secret when we moved here, and though it has grown exponentially, it still has much of the small-town charm it did when we first visited. My kids had so many friends that were a quick walk or bike ride away, and they got a first-rate education that prepared them for college and beyond. There are so many things to do: the beach, golf courses, restaurants. Plus, we get a little change of season that I always enjoy.
What do you like to do in your free time?
It’s funny: When our kids were growing up, it seemed like every weekend Tess and I were taking them to tennis tournaments or lacrosse games, and usually in opposite directions and often overnight. Now that Tess and I are empty nesters, I just enjoy spending a little more quality time with her. It also is great to have the kids nearby for a little family time. I still follow my Georgia Bulldogs closely, and I am excited that the college basketball season has started. If we ever slow down, I am hoping to spend a bit more time on the golf course and at the beach.