Celebrating 75 years of health in North Florida

Posted on Apr 21st 2019 by Darnell Smith

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Thank you! Florida Blue is celebrating its 75th anniversary and we wouldn’t be here without you, our members. We started as a little office on Riverside Avenue in Jacksonville in 1944 to provide affordable health plans to Floridians. I don’t think we could have imagined then that we would help 5 million people across the state every year to access health care. Our mission today is not much different than it was then – to help people and communities achieve better health.

And what better way to celebrate than with a party! We invite you to celebrate our 75th anniversary with us starting at 10 a.m. on April 27 in Jacksonville at our Florida Blue Center at the St. Johns Town Center. There will be fun for the whole family with a DJ, our mascot Sunny, a gardening activity, snacks and 75th-anniversary giveaways, as well as health screenings, a farmer’s market and more. And because we always keep our community in mind, we will be collecting nonperishable food items for Feeding Northeast Florida. When you bring a food donation, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Fitbit! You can RSVP here for the party. It’s our way of saying thank you for the last 75 years.

We are proud to serve all 67 counties in Florida, and I am particularly fond of the 36 counties of North Florida that I represent. In my travels across North Florida, I’ve met people from large cities and rural areas, college towns and military bases. We literally have it all in North Florida! We were devastated by the destruction that Hurricane Michael inflicted on the Panhandle, and worked with the community there to provide donations, food, water and sometimes a shoulder to cry on. We continue to work with our partners to help those affected look after their health while rebuilding their lives.

In 75 years, we have developed lasting relationships with partners who help us live our mission. As a not-for-profit business, our focus has always been our members and we have worked with partners who help us help you. It is in our best interest as a business that we help our members stay healthy, and we know that goes beyond the doctor’s office to include education, managing stress and a good quality of life. Our investment in the community is an investment in your health. We wish to thank our many partners for helping us live our mission for the past 75 years.

We hope you will join the party on April 27 in Jacksonville, or at one of our Florida Blue Centers in Orlando, Miami or Sarasota. Happy anniversary!        

Filed under: Community  

Darnell Smith

Darnell Smith is North Florida Market President for Florida Blue, a leader in the state’s health industry. In his role, Smith is responsible for Florida Blue’s business market growth, as well as customer and community engagement across 36 North Florida counties covering cities from St. Augustine to Pensacola. He is the immediate past chair of the JAX Chamber. Throughout his career, Smith has been very active in serving the community through numerous organization boards and councils including Communities in Schools Florida, United Way of Northeast Florida, First Coast YMCA, Sulzbacher Center, Cathedral Arts Project and Feeding Northeast Florida.  Smith has served on numerous boards including Economic Development Council of Tallahassee, JAXUSA Policy Council and Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce ,and has chaired the Heart Walk for the American Heart Association for Northeast Florida, the Host Committee for Episcopal Children’s Services and has served on the Board of Directors of the Florida Blue Foundation, Florida Blue’s philanthropic affiliate. Smith is an active member of Leadership Jacksonville and Leadership Florida.

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