By Tim Balfour, Executive Director, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce
During Victorian Christmas, the Jolly Holly Trolley will be providing entertainment for families while they make memories in Jacksonville. In the driver’s seat will be Brian Roberts.
Many of you have enjoyed a narrated trolley tour with Brian over the past three years. Brian joined our team as one of three drivers and is now our lead (and currently only) driver. He has become one of the visitor service team’s best assets as well as a top ambassador for Jacksonville.
Brian immediately committed himself to learning Jacksonville’s history. He went well beyond the scope of the 45 minute narrative he delivers on the tours. He has developed a strong enough knowledge base that allows him to answer more detailed questions from passengers as well as to adjust his tour narration based on the interests of the passengers.
Passengers frequently comment on how apparent it is that Brian loves his job and Jacksonville. His enthusiasm comes through in how he talks about the town and its history. I also appreciate his positive attitude and his ability to come up with new ideas for using the trolley. We will be working on new narratives for trolley tours based on his input.
As his supervisor, I greatly appreciate his willingness to put in the time to present the trolley to the public in clean and working order. Whether that means wiping it down after a wash or a rain, getting it to the mechanic, decorating it for special events or just parking it carefully in its tight quarters every night.
Brian and his wife, Wendy, moved here from Ukiah, California nearly 10 years ago. In addition to his work on our trolley, Brian drives activity buses for Cascade Christian School and has several other business interests.
He and Wendy recently opened a vacation lodging facility, The Inn on Fifth. This came from a desire to be more actively involved with the Jacksonville community. They are also active members of the Calvary Church.
For the Haunted Trolley tours, they worked with the church so that we could use the facilities as a gathering place for our volunteers. Having such a comfortable spot allowed us to greet our volunteers each night and to express our appreciation for their time. This is an example of Wendy and Brian’s (as well as the Calvary Church’s) desire to be more engaged with the community.
Be sure to give Brian and the Trolley a wave when you see them. Let him know how much you appreciate his time and effort in being one of Jacksonville’s key ambassadors.