JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday he will be granting $1,000 bonuses for first responders across the state.
Bonus payments, which total $2.1 million altogether, will be awarded to those that have been employed as a first responder in Florida since May 1, 2022, DeSantis said at the Jacksonville news conference.
The money comes from COVID-19 stimulus funds provided by the federal government.
DeSantis presented members of the Jacksonville Fire And Rescue Department checks at Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center on Monday and said government officials are rolling out payments for first responders on municipal and county levels throughout the state as well.
“You know, it always is a tough job, but particularly since COVID... needing to flex and put yourselves out there and... we thought last year that this was something that was appropriate to do to show that we support and it was something that I think a lot of people felt,” DeSantis said. “... So we said we were going to do it again.”
Keith Powers, director and fire chief at Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, praised the hard work of his team, as well as the governor, during the briefing.
“The men and woman of (JFRD), they work extremely hard every day protecting us. During the COVID pandemic, they put their lives on the line every day for this community. In fact, you know, we lost a firefighter in the line of duty due to COVID that he got exposed to while serving this community. So thank you all for the hard work that you do every day,” Powers said. “(And) governor, on behalf of JFRD, I want to thank you for making sure our firefighters have all of their needs met on- and off-duty.”
DeSantis was also joined by Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle, who has joined the governor on a number of news conferences centered on infrastructure and jobs growth in the last few months.
“What we do at DEO is we assist the governor in advancing the economy. That’s fine on its own, but it’s great to be able to assist in that and we do that by focusing on workforce, focusing on businesses and communities. Greater workforces (like our) first responders who are first in and last out... It’s been a pleasure at DEO to serve you,” Eagle said.
This also comes a day after citizens across Central Florida, and the entire nation, remembered 9/11 by paying tribute to the thousands of people killed in the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil, including the firefighters and first responders who risked their own lives trying to save others.
“We’re also glad to be able to do these bonus payments today, which is of course Monday, but yesterday was the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,” DeSantis said. “And it was a time when we reflect obviously on the loss of a lot of great people who were in those towers... We lost a number of folks from the FDNY, NYPD, the Port Authority, who are running into the burning buildings. And when you wear those uniforms, that’s what you’re required to do. And there’s a lot of different things that happen that the rest of the public is not expected to necessarily run toward. But the folks who are wearing the uniform have to run toward the fire and run toward the danger.”
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