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12 Who Care: Chris Woolston makes San Marco a better place to live and read

Chris Woolston has found a home away from his homeland and he's dedicated years to making it a better place to live.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After a full day of work at a local school, Chris Woolston then dedicates what is left of his day to making his neighborhood the best it can be for the kids.

While he has no desire for recognition, his peers think otherwise. He is one of our 12 Who Care winners.

San Marco became Chris Woolston’s home away from his homeland. H

“I’m from the middle of England," he explains. "A tiny little village.”

Woolston might be far from home, but he’s made a new one in San Marco.

“It’s very much like where I grew up," he says.

“It feels like a little European town," says Desiree Bailey, the woman who nominated Woolston.

Bailey’s family owns San Marco Books. Bailey and Woolston both have a love of reading and a love of preservation. 

She met Woolston 8 years ago when he joined the San Marco Preservation Society. Woolston served as the president of the San Marco Preservation Society during the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2021. 

"He’s a deep thinker and cares about his community and has really stepped up to find ways to make it better," she explains.

With Woolston, the more is the merrier. He created Story Time in the Square bringing families out to the heart of San Marco to read together every month.

“I don’t exactly know how I thought of this. Just knew that I wanted to get people together and give kids the chance to read," says Woolston. "I love reading.”

Bailey says it goes beyond reading to the kids. 

“When you have a love of reading, you can connect. It’s important for our society to find common ground when there is so much divisiveness in the world," she says. 

Woolston says he’ll see you all in the heart of San Marco the first Saturday of every month until people stop showing up. Why does he do it?

"Because (I) love the community. (I) love the neighborhood. (I) love the people," he says. "It’s nice to have a pat in the back, but I’d be doing it whether I did or didn’t.”

See what else is going on in San Marco here.

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