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'This is a small token': Gov. Ron DeSantis gives $1,000 bonuses to first responders

The governor and first lady handed out several checks personally to first responders who searched for survivors and recovered remains at the Surfside condo collapse.

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and first lady Casey DeSantis were in Surfside Tuesday to announce the $1,000 bonuses for first responders across the state.

Many of the first responders who worked to search for survivors and ultimately recover the remains of those killed in the Champlain Tower South collapse were in attendance for the announcement. 

During the news conference, DeSantis thanked the men and women who responded to the tragedy for their service to their community. 

DeSantis said he was glad to finally begin handing out some of these checks, noting the Florida state budget was passed to allocate $1,000 checks for both first responders and teachers across the state. 

The bonuses were in part to thank both educators and first responders for their perseverance throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

"This is a small token, I mean obviously there's much more that anyone wishes they could do, but we did think it was important to say 'we thank you,'" DeSantis said.

DeSantis was also joined by Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez and DEO Secretary Dane Eagle, who both also expressed their gratitude for first responders. 

Back in May, DeSantis officially announced $1,000 bonuses for every law enforcement officer, firefighter, EMT and paramedic in the state. 

At the time, DeSantis thanked law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifice throughout the pandemic. He called the way police officers were treated last year a "total disgrace," referencing racial justice protests that erupted across the country.

The governor first proposed the idea of payments for first responders in March among a list of recommendations on how to use Florida's federal relief funds.

Earlier this week, DeSantis said teachers across Florida are beginning to receive their $1,000 bonuses in the mail.

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