We call it the First Coast.
“I love it, I love it,” says Cathy Grooms, who was visiting Jacksonville Beach Tuesday. “I love the beach.”
We’re also lucky enough to call it home.
“It’s one of our favorite places to go,” says Melissa Pollock, who lives nearby. “Obviously we came here tonight to take in all its beauty.”
“Beach people,” explains Melanie White, who was surfing Tuesday. “People who love the sand, who love watching the waves just crumble.”
We braced ourselves last week. We knew what was coming.
“I knew it was going to be a bad hurricane,” says Enrique Correa of St. Augustine.
“I was absolutely sick to my stomach,” Pollock says.
“You hope nothing happens, you hope people don’t lose property,” says John Kenneally of Jacksonville Beach.
That was the hope.
“Obviously they lost part of the pier,” Kenneally says, referencing the iconic Jacksonville Beach pier.
“We had a lot of friends who were checking in on people,” Correa says.
“We may have differences in life, but when it comes down to tragedy, we all come together,” remarks Grooms.
We are beach people.
“People out here are just resilient,” Pollock says.
“Everyone helps each other pick it back up,” says White, a surfer. “That’s just how it works."
We persevere. Just days after the hurricane, the beaches are again filling up. People are taking pictures, enjoying the breeze, surfing and smiling.
“In a way it doesn’t surprise me,” says Pollock, who brought her daughter to see their beloved Jax Beach Tuesday.
“Oh yeah, yeah. I knew they’d be out,” says Kenneally. He was one of them, kite surfing for hours. “You can lift yourself up in the air 20, 30 feet.”
We ride the waves of life on our beautiful First Coast.
“We’re strong, we can do it, and we did it,” Grooms says. “Pretty awesome. Pretty awesome.”