Weeks after Hurricane Ian made landfall, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is still making rounds around the state, visiting communities that were impacted by the storm. This week DeSantis visited Sanibel Island, FL and hand-delivered first responder recognition payments.
The checks were reported by the governor's office to cost $1,000 and were given to first responders employed by the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District, the Captiva Island Fire Control District, and the Upper Captiva Fire Protection & Rescue Service District. The checks are possible thanks to the governor's Florida Essential First Responder Recognition Payment Program.
"We are proud of the hard work and selflessness that our first responders demonstrate every day, especially when communities are relying on them more than ever," said Governor Ron DeSantis. "For nearly three weeks, first responders in Southwest Florida have been working day and night in the wake of Hurricane Ian to save lives and help their communities. I am glad we were able to bring Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and Upper Captiva Island first responders their $1,000 bonuses to show our appreciation for their dedication."
For first responders who were not able to receive their checks, the governor's office intends to distribute 400 more checks around South Florida through local departments.
In Florida, Governor DeSantis has never been shy about praising Floridians who work on the frontlines in the streets to schools. Earlier in DeSantis' term, Florida sent bonuses for the same amount to public school teachers. This year the governor proposed HB 3 which aims to encourage more Floridians to seek first responder jobs.
Additionally, DCF has launched the First Responder Resiliency resource page, which offers first responders available mental health resources that they can call or access at any time. The page is also where organizations can access the application to apply for the above-mentioned funding.
First Lady Casey DeSantis recently announced that the Florida Disaster Fund has raised $45 million to help victims of the deadly storm.