skip to content

Our Media



Heroes Helping Heroes Rebuild through Hurricane Relief Funds

December 30, 2022

If we have learned one thing over the last several years, it is that when the unexpected comes along, it’s important to know who you can count on. Since the Florida Sheriffs Association was created in 1893, sheriffs have known that they can count on each other when disaster strikes. And in Florida, those events happen with regularity.    

Our most recent challenge occurred on the southwest coast with the deadly and highly destructive Hurricane Ian. And once again, the sheriffs delivered – with a little help from our friends.   

On Sept. 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian hit Southwest Florida as a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of up to 150 miles per hour.  Countless homes were destroyed in the storm’s wake.  

In response, FSA created the Heroes Helping Heroes Rebuild campaign, a hurricane relief fund that is helping bridge a financial gap as our heroes are actively helping others while they try to temporarily set aside the devastation they and their families are facing at the same time. 

Early Response  

This operation is not the first time FSA has been involved in hurricane response efforts – in fact, the FSA Task Force provided aid on the ground as the storm hit.

On Sept. 23, it became clear that Tropical Storm Ian was on a path that could possibly impact Florida within a few days.  FSA Task Force Chair, Sheriff Tommy Ford of Bay County, held a meeting via Zoom in the early morning to provide updates to Florida’s sheriffs on the impending storm. That same day, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Executive Order 22-218, declaring a state of emergency in the state.   

As the storm got closer, the Florida Sheriffs Task Force did not hesitate to take quick action.  By Sept. 24, FSA personnel were staffing the FSA desk at the State Emergency Operations Center 24 hours a day. FSA staff members Steve Cole, Tony Drzewiecki and David Brand worked around the clock.   

The Road to Recovery  

Days after the hurricane passed, towns in Southwest Florida all the way through Central and Northeast Florida, dealt with significant flooding and devastation. FSA personnel worked tirelessly to bring much-needed resources and relief to affected areas. Several sheriffs directly supervised the strike teams in their areas. 

As of today, recovery efforts are continuing.  More than 650 personnel, representing 42 sheriffs’ offices, have responded to the impacted areas.  A total of 47 missions were assigned and completed. Other sheriffs’ offices remain on stand-by for replacement responses. 

There is a long road to recovery ahead, but we are stronger together.  

Fundraising Efforts 

The Florida Deputy Sheriffs Association (FDSA) and FSA partnered with Governor and First Lady DeSantis along with FSA partners and donors to raise over $700,000 to support Florida Sheriffs’ Office employees recovering from Hurricane Ian. FDSA was able to start cutting checks within two weeks of the storm's landfall and has been able to distribute funds to all impacted employees.