Orlando, Florida -- Governor Rick Scott is saying a big "thank you" to everyone who stepped up to help 300 soldiers come home to the Bay area in time for Christmas.
10 News viewers and businesses raised a total of $35,000 to make the holiday homecomings possible.
When Bay area soldiers needed holiday help, you came through. We told you at the beginning of the week about the need -- and the offers and donations poured in.
Thursday, even the governor stopped to say thanks.
He came to Orlando to cut the ribbon on a new supermarket, but Gov. Scott spent Thursday praising Publix and nine other businesses and associations -- Walgreens, Badcock, Bealls, Chico's, and several more -- for pitching in.
"It's a big deal to these families. It's a big deal to our military men and women, especially when they've been gone, and for both their spouses and their kids, and their friends," Scott said.
"So, I just -- first -- thank you everybody for doing this."
The companies' donations combined with gifts from you, our 10 News viewers, to raise $35,000 -- including a stunning $20,000 in 24 hours.
The money will pay for buses to bring 300 national guardsmen home for Christmas, driving them from a base in Mississippi to waiting families in places like Polk, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties.
Deann Morasco's husband will be one of them.
"I cannot thank you enough for everything that you've done. We are very excited to have our family members come home and celebrate on a great day," Morasco said.
"I know we have some surprising their family members, and so it'll be just an amazing experience."
Without this money, members of this unit would have to pay their own way to take advantage of a special four-day holiday leave and come home.
And if they decided to stay in Mississippi to save that money, not only would they miss Christmas, they wouldn't get to see their families until sometime early next year.
Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:
#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond
Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"
CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog
Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here
Grayson Kamm, 10 News