by Chris Shee
I’ve always enjoyed giving back to the community and have been involved in community outreach activities since high school. However, it wasn’t until the planning of our first sporting clay tournament, Clays For A Cause, that I started becoming more aware of our local needs and the organizations that help those needs. Once I started getting more intimately involved with some of these organizations, especially the orphanages, I knew that helping the community was to become a life long mission of mine.
Several years ago I wanted to define who MasterCraft Builder Group was in a summarized form. With the help of our marketing company, we developed what are now the pillars of MasterCraft known as the 4-C’s: Craftsmanship, Choice, Customer Service, and Community. Community involves helping and giving back to our LOCAL needs and it’s built into the DNA of this company as well as the other companies I now own—something I’m most proud of.
My charity plans for 2020 had a big wrench thrown in them due to COVID. One of the bigger endeavors I was planning was called Concerts For A Cause. I own a large wedding venue in South St. Augustine that has a capacity of 300. My plan was (and still is) to bring in big name musicians and have a more intimate, almost un-plugged, concert where we serve dinner and drinks, enjoy a large camp fire, etc. and enjoy a night of music and fellowship. Part of the appeal will be attending a concert with a big name headliner and only having 300 people in attendance. The other appealing part is that all profits from these concerts will go to a “cause” which will change with each concert. It’s a fun way to generate $25,000 - 50,000+ per event for a local causes. I am determined to make this happen and can’t wait until it does!
Aside from Concerts For A Cause, we will be hosting the 8th Annual Clays For A Cause this year at Saltwater’s Shooting Club. The tournament will benefit Seamark Ranch and St. Augustine Youth Services again—the two orphanages with whom we are closest. Last year we raised $168,000 during this one day event which is just mind blowing. My commitment to the event remains in that I’ll pay for everything including shooting, food, drinks, golf cart rentals, etc. so that every dollar donated by the participants actually goes to the charities and not towards paying for the event. It’s become a wildly successful fundraising event and I feel so privileged to host it.
I have also started working on a new independent living facility for St. Augusine Youth Services (SAYS) in hopes to break ground later this year or early next. Since SAYS receives public assistance, they’re required to move kids out when they turn 18—regardless of where they are in school, their mental or physical health, ability to live independently, etc. It’s a real problem for which many folks aren’t aware and it’s just wrong. The purpose of the independent living facility is to provide apartment-style living to these new “adults" for 2-3 years while they acclimate into the real world of paying bills, cooking meals, doing laundry, and all of the other tasks they’re now required to do on their own. The apartments will be subsidized in order to make them affordable. I’ve been wanting to do this for many years and am really excited that we’re now working to make this a reality.
Lastly, MasterCraft Builder Group will be building the “Home For The Heart” this year which benefits Builders Care—the charitable arm of The Northeast Florida Builders Association. We are building a home in one of our newest communities, SilverLeaf, and will be donating all profits from this home to Builders Care when it sells. In order to make the contribution even larger, we’ve asked our trade partners and suppliers to discount or donate any labor and/or materials they’re able to and we’ll pass the saving along to the Builders Care donation. Our trades and suppliers have been unbelievably supportive as they always are with our charitable endeavors. We’ll hopefully reach a 6 figure donation with this effort.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in life so far is that the more I give, the wealthier I become. Material things aren’t as important to me as they once were and that’s been very relieving. Instead, being known as a good steward to my community and a good person overall is way more important to me. I hope my two boys, Brandon and Tyler, will continue to be influenced by my actions so that they too will be local philanthropists one day. There’s hardly anything else that would make me more proud.
An Industry Leader, a Compassionate Care Giver
Pets R Family is located at 3035 CR210 West, St Johns, FL
The beautiful furry friends that live in 75% of the population’s homes, are more than just cuddly creatures. These fun-loving pets are an integral part of so many of our families. And so often we love and care for them as our children. Those key individuals who dedicate their lives in the medical care and well being of our pets, are then thrust into the role of “Other Family Doctor”.
Dr. Kathleen Deckard was raised in the Fruit Cove area of Saint Johns County. She then went on to graduate from the University of Florida, School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, where she was President of her graduating class. She immediately moved back to the North Florida area, where she took up residence on CR 210, and has remained since. This was back when CR 210 had no grocery stores, drug stores or restaurants. But she knew this would be home long term, and her future would be built right here.
Dr. Deckard began her career as a Veterinarian in Saint Augustine, at a large multi Doctor practice, with her focus on small animals, reptiles and exotics. However, she had a heartfelt desire to impact her own community where she lived and was now raising her children. Dr. Deckard has always felt a driven purpose to not only provide the very best medical care for pets, but also to make a positive difference in her surrounding area.
As CR 210 began to grow, land was developed and buildings and stores began to open, Dr. Deckard and her husband began the search for a good location to set up their dream. Dr. Deckard and her husband would proclaim that much answered prayer went into the final approval and financing of the building they are in, to allow them to own the building and create what is now Pets R Family Veterinary Hospital.
“ I dedicate my days to improving health, saving lives, and bringing comfort to the beautiful pets with whom I’ve made my life’s work. It’s what excites and fulfills me, it’s what drives me to constant improvement, and it’s what gives me confidence in leading my staff of Doctors and Technicians.”
Pets R Family opened its doors in 2015, and is a full-service animal hospital, focused on internal medicine, dermatology, dentistry, wellness and prevention, and end of life care. It offers full-service boarding, grooming, pet training and Pups N Play social pet care. Dr. Kathleen Deckard and her husband are the full owners of what was a dream since she was 19 years of age. Their practice is designed to provide the very best quality family pet medical care and services with state-of-the-art facility, leading edge equipment and continuing education training with a quality, hand-picked staff. The building that seemed so impossible to achieve, is now the beautiful structure that houses all these great services.
Dr. Deckard is the lead Doctor of this 5 Doctor practice at Pets R Family. And her Team has now amassed to over 50 employees. She and her husband Brad run the daily operations with their two children, Gavin who is 13 and Abigail who is 15, and is following in the career direction of her Mother. Their practice is now involved with over 4,500 patients from their community and surrounding areas. Pets R Family supports many charities, local schools, organizations and churches as part of their larger plan to positively impact the community around them. And it’s the three key tenets of focus in Love, Care and Compassion, that drive all decisions, efforts and focus at PRF. She and her family have built their practice on these key foundational elements, as the root of their Christian faith.
Dr. Kathleen Deckard had a dream to become a leader in the pet care industry. And her continued focus on the care and compassion for the family in that process, is something that truly sets her practice and her results, apart. And in a market area where so many of the Pet Care practices are now corporately owned with cookie cutter service plans, and corporately generated wellness levels, Dr. Deckard and her family owned and managed company can choose to treat the patients needs with customized medical treatments for each client. She has now been practicing animal medicine for over 20 years, and her dream is being lived out daily. However certainly, as her staff knows, she never rests on her current knowledge or position. Dr. Deckard continues to learn, instruct, guide and forge, medical practice and standards that are of the highest level. And her loving, compassionate and caring spirit and demeanor are the qualities that her clients, staff and friends enjoy most.
St. Johns Magazine