40 Under Forty: CJ Emmons

Name: CJ Emmons

Age: 37

Title/company or main life pursuit: Physician and owner of Sabal Direct Primary Care

What is your word and why did you choose it? Care. I chose this word because it was the first one that came to my mind. I have always had a strong sense of empathy. Joy and sadness move me to tears almost daily – it is how I am made – and my family and friends are used to it. As a primary care doctor, I am giving advice, answering questions and making decisions all day long regarding my patients’ health. I might not have the answer right away, but my patients know that I am searching for it and am going to call them back because they know I care about them. Sometimes people who don’t have a problem to be fixed or a question to be answered just need an ear to listen to their story and I am happy to serve that role. The entire team at the office is the same – we care about our people! Our patients are most often like family.

What aspirations do you have for yourself in the next 40 years? I am not a long-range planner! God willing, I will be 77 alongside my husband Tyler and some grandchildren. If I am retired from work as a doctor, I hope I will be busy doing volunteer work and being outside.

Favorite way to give back to the community? By providing affordable, transparent and quality health care! It is a lot of fun for us to hear daily from our patients, “this is so easy; this costs less than going out to dinner and you guys take the time to listen – why doesn’t everyone do this!?”

What do you love and/or hate about the Ocala area? I love the natural beauty; it makes my heart sing! The sabal palm trees, live oaks, rivers, thunderstorms, sunshine – all of it! I am loving the growth of the arts and pedestrian-friendly atmosphere that was not present when I was growing up here; it’s awesome! I also love that it is home. I am a fifth-generation Floridian and it’s pretty cool to think about my great grandparents walking down the same street on the square that I do with my kids.

A few albums and movies you’d bring to a deserted island? I don’t want any movies, so I’ll take some extra albums: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Pack Up the Plantation, Live! Van Morrison’s Greatest Hits, Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell, Dire Strait’s Brothers In Arms and Collective Soul’s first self-titled blue album.

You never leave home without: Telling my husband and kids that I love them.

If you could tell your 16-year-old self one thing. Keep it up, you are on the right track.

Anything else you’re super passionate about that you’d like to tout. 1. Jesus. Knowing that this world is temporary and I am saved by grace changes my day-to-day outlook. 2. How much I love my parents, Bill and Meta Reese, who raised my sister Rhoda and me after our mom passed away when we were 3- and 2-years-old. They are saints! 3. Ambleside School of Ocala. Jill Romine and company are providing the best learning experience there is.

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