Fort Myers, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis traveled to Satellite Beach, Temple Terrace and Fort Myers to announce $1,000 one-time bonuses for approximately 174,000 first responders, including law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and firefighters across the state.
“Supporting our law enforcement and first responders has been a top priority for my administration, and it has never been more important than over the last year. As a state, we are grateful for their continued service to our communities,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “This one-time bonus is a small token of appreciation, but we can never go far enough to express our gratitude for their selflessness.”
“When the Coronavirus came to Florida, our first responders worked overtime to protect our communities and get people the care they so desperately needed,” said Florida Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis. “I say all the time that these men and women work 24/7, 365-days a year to protect our communities – and they performed with honor and distinction during this global pandemic. The bonus checks that Governor DeSantis proposed, and secured from the Legislature, means a lot to these first responders and their families who had to live through this crisis. With his hard work, the Governor has made it very clear that Florida loves and appreciates our first responders, which means a lot to these heroes.”
“It is great to see today’s focus on thanking our first responders, not only for their tireless work during the pandemic, but their service day in and day out in our communities,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson. “These dedicated women and men are at their best when we are facing some of life’s most challenging moments. They stand with us when a loved one is facing a medical emergency, when a home is damaged by a fire, and so many other difficult circumstances. Today, the Florida Legislature and our Governor are proud to stand with these dedicated first responders, and I hope these bonuses will serve as a reminder that their hard work is seen and appreciated.”
“Throughout the entire pandemic, Florida’s first responders made sacrifices nobody could foresee,”said House Speaker Chris Sprowls. “They answered the call when Floridians were in need the most, and I am grateful for their service. I applaud Governor DeSantis for proposing these bonuses and am proud to have the Legislature get it across the finish line.”
“Over this last year, Florida was fortunate to have many dedicated first responders who fulfilled essential functions of government throughout the most trying months of the pandemic,” said Senator Kelli Stargel, Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. “From our law enforcement officers, to EMTs, to firefighters and many others, we are so grateful to these hardworking professionals, and pleased to be able to offer these bonus payments as a small token of appreciation on behalf of our state.”
“Our first responders worked tirelessly through the pandemic to meet the needs of our communities,” said Representative Jay Trumbull, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. “In this year’s budget the Legislature affirmed our commitment to our first responders, and I am proud that we met the Governor’s request to provide them with bonuses to show our appreciation for their hard work and dedication to Florida.”
The authorization comes following the Governor’s call for the bonuses in March, with the bonuses included in the 2021-22 state budget. While the budget is not yet signed, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is working to immediately implement this bonus program, expediting the distribution effort. Approximately $208 million has been allocated from DEO for over 174,000 first responders across the state, including 49,405 sworn law enforcement officers, 40,732 EMTs, 35,811 firefighters and 33,185 paramedics in Florida.