The Pond Family
Our April Member Spotlight shines on Chris and Ashley Pond and their boys Grayson (5th grade), and Campbell (3rd grade), both of whom attend Ocean Palms Elementary. They have made Palm Valley their home since 2004 when Chris and Ashley bought their homestead, The Ponderosa, on South Wilderness Trail. They live there with two horses, two dogs, multiple chickens, rabbits, and a tortoise.
Chris was born in San Clemente, California. He grew up surfing, fishing, riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers, and playing baseball. His parents moved him and his brother from California to Miami where they ended up losing their home in Hurricane Andrew. This led them to re-settle in Melbourne Beach. After graduation from Melbourne High School, Chris moved to Jacksonville to attend UNF, majoring in Health Science. He worked to pay his bills and saved money for traveling. During college and the years following his graduation, he took surf trips to Mexico and Central America with friends. Chris worked two jobs, saving money to start his own business. He has now had his landscaping business here in PV for almost 20 years. Chris came to know Christ in his 20’s and was baptized at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville Beach. Today, Chris enjoys taking his boys riding dirt bikes, surfing, fishing, and dates with Ashley attending rodeos and horse shows.
Ashley was born in small town Macclenny, Florida. She grew up on 100 acres of land along with her parents, sister, brother, and grandparents, who lived close by. One of her first memories is of riding on her daddy’s shoulders to go feed the Hereford cattle. Ashley started riding horses at age 9. Her beloved sidekick was a Palomino mare named Molly. Ashley and her best friend would do chores for a neighbor in exchange for barrel racing lessons and they eventually started hauling horses to the rodeo on Saturday nights. Ashley was also very active in church (was baptized as a young teen), was a Wildcat football and basketball cheerleader, a track athlete (mile, half-mile, relay), and played various roles in high school/community theatre. She attended FSU, was a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, and interned at the State Capital during former Governor Jeb Bush’s term. Ashley studied abroad for a summer, living in London and then traveled to Scotland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and France. She lived in California for a year after graduation before moving back to the east coast where she met Chris. After they were married, she taught Language Arts in the St. John’s County school district. She is now a stay-at-home mother, and her day-to-day activities still include her passion for working with horses and other farm animals.
Grayson and Campbell both love motocross and traveling to different tracks around Florida to ride and train for their races. They love being in the water, surfing, camping, and blazing new trails. Grayson plays with his Jack Russell, Remington, and Campbell takes care of his chickens and tortoise, Leo. There’s usually a soccer game going on, trees to climb, or mud ball fights to get into! Chris and Ashley are so thankful that God has chosen them to raise these two sweet boys!
And we are thankful that God has led this sweet family to PVBC! Thank you for sharing your story with us, and many Happy Trails to all four of you!
Respectfully submitted by Crystal D. Baer