The Florida Defense Support Task Force awarded more than $324,000 on Wednesday to support veteran suicide prevention efforts and an ongoing construction project at Tyndall Air Force Base, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced.
“These Florida Defense Support Task Force grant awards will directly support those who serve our country and protect our freedom each and every day,” the Republican Governor said. “Combined with the previous round of awards, we have now invested more than $1.5 million in Florida’s military communities since 2020. I am proud to lead the most military-friendly state in the country and I remain dedicated to supporting our service members and their families.”
Of the $324,000, nearly half will go to the Northeast Florida Fire Watch Council, which provides suicide awareness programs to service members, military dependents and retirees among other services.
“The grant will support Educational and Outreach programs focused on increasing awareness of veteran suicide, engaging the community and encouraging veterans to access the resources available to them in our region and Resource Coordination programs designed to identify and close weaknesses in those resources and services,” said Northeast Florida Fire Watch Council Executive Director Nick Howland.
The other half will be provided to the Bay County Board of County Commissioners to support the rebuild of Tyndall Air Force Base, which was severely damaged during Hurricane Michael in 2018.
The rebuild will restore the base’s ability to facilitate drone and fighter jet operations.
“This partnership with the FDSTF is yet another example of our strong focus on working with Tyndall leadership in rebuilding from the effects of Hurricane Michael,” said Robert Carroll, chair of the Bay County Board of County Commissioners. “We are committed to facilitating communication and developing mission growth and community partnership opportunities for longterm military and defense resiliency.”
According to the Governor’s Office, Florida’s military and defense industry contributes more than $95 billion in economic impact. It also supports more than 914,000 jobs in Florida, making defense the second largest economic sector in the state.