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Executive Director Kevin Guthrie honors Florida’s eight Urban Search and Rescue teams at Serving Heroes Event with Gary Sinise Foundation

Press release from Florida Division of Emergency Management

SURFSIDE, Fla. – This week, Florida Division of Emergency Management (Division) Executive Director Kevin Guthrie, in partnership with the Gary Sinise Foundation, honored Florida’s eight Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Teams in observance of the 2-year anniversary of the Champlain Towers South Building Collapse.

“Florida’s USAR Teams play a critical role in the Division’s response to disasters and stand ready to answer the call when communities are in need,” said Division Executive Director Kevin Guthrie. “I want to thank the Gary Sinise Foundation for taking the time to honor these men and women as we commemorate the two-year anniversary of the tragic Champlain Towers South Building Collapse.”

In the early hours of June 24, FDEM’s State Watch Office received a report regarding the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside. Throughout the State’s response, all eight Florida USAR Teams mobilized to Surfside to support search and rescue efforts and assist with emergency triage and medicine. In support of USAR Teams, the Division deployed personnel, equipment, and resources to aid in the search and rescue efforts and ensure added protection and safety while working on-site.

The Gary Sinise Foundation was established by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise. Their mission is to serve the U.S. by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. The Serving Heroes initiative shows gratitude to our defenders and first responders by serving meals nationwide and at military outposts abroad. To date, Gary Sinise Foundation has served over 967,000 meals to our nation’s heroes.

Gainesville Fire Rescue sent a team to Surfside on June 27, 2021, to aid in the effort.

  • So thankful for first responders who are capable and willing to do these very difficult/tragic but necessary jobs.

    I know one of the men who deployed to help – a humble, honorable, wonderful family man.

    We are blessed to have people of such strong character coming alongside to help in times of crisis.

    I’m glad they were honored for their exemplary service.

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