While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has his hands full getting the state back on track in the wake of Hurricane Ian, his wife, Casey, is out showing strong support for first responders.
"I am proud of Florida's first responders, and fortunate to have the opportunity to say thank you," Florida's first lady said during a stop at a Lee County first responders camp Monday. "They have been on the front lines since the moment Hurricane Ian impacted southwest Florida.
"They have rescued, comforted, and strengthened great Floridians devastated by the hurricane, and I commend them for their dedication and courage. We know the ripple effect of a disaster go beyond physical destruction to include grief and distress in a community, and those serving on the front lines of Florida's communities have the full support from our state, including the mental health aspects of recovery."
She joined her husband in providing updates during the three-day storm that hit the southwest coast as a Category 4 hurricane last week, and then traversed the peninsula, bringing winds, rain, and flooding north into the state.
During her stop in hard hit Lee County on Monday, Casey announced the creation of a Division of Emergency Management website to help with the responder's mental health while responding to the storm's devastation, a press release from her office Tuesday said.
The site, www.floridadisaster.org, provides mental health resources for the victims of the storm.
In addition to the first responders, Casey joined the Florida National Guard on Pine Island Monday to help deliver food and water to the residents who have been cut off from the mainland since the storm.
"Our Florida National Guardsmen and first responders have heroically stepped up to serve the needs of those impacted by Hurricane Ian," she said in a press release from her office Monday. "While we are working to restore ground transportation and utilities, the National Guard and first responders have supported the community every step of the way. The Governor and I are grateful for their service."
Gov. DeSantis directed Florida's Department of Transportation on Sunday to expedite repairs to the roads and bridges to provide vehicle access to the island with the hope of restoring transportation there by Oct. 8, according to the release.
Those repairs will allow for recovery efforts, debris removal, and power restoration to the island.
In addition, the private Florida Disaster Fund, spearheaded by Casey has raised more than $26 million to help storm victims recover.
Contributions to that fund can be made at www.floridadisasterfund.org.
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