Bay County emergency services receive state award

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. — Bay County’s first responders and emergency services were recognized on Tuesday for winning an award from the Florida Association of Public Safety Officials.

The award was presented at the Bay County Commission meeting Tuesday morning. The award recognizes the life-saving work done before, during and after Hurricane Michael.

The groups recognized include law enforcement, fire, and emergency services as well as communication officers who are responsible for the safety of those in the field.

Deputy Chief Brad Monroe says even though they handled the storm as best they could, they definitely will change some things if another hurricane hits. “We’ve learned a lot of things about the way we do business and the way we respond to things and we’ve tweaked our operations and in the future, we’ll be better for it,” said Brad Monroe. 

The county also read a proclamation to recognize May 21st as a day of honor for the staff and the work they do.

To see the full proclamation, click here

Also at the meeting, commissioners approved six contracts for permanent repairs to multiple buildings in the county. 

The contracts are for places like the sheriff’s office, the county courthouse, and junior deputy building.

The repairs include roofing, pavement, and other general interior and exterior repairs to the buildings.

County commissioner Tommy Hamm says decisions like these bring a sense of optimism and strength to the area.

“To me, it’s kind of a confidence builder. We’re finally, we’re getting somewhere. Ya know, we’re finally making a turn and our debris is starting to get picked up. It’s all but done, we’re still working on ditches and waterways and all that, we still have a long left to do, no doubt but to me, it’s a confidence builder to see things coming back together, said Hamm. 

Hamm says most of the funding will come from insurance and they hope to partner with FEMA for damage that was not covered.

After the meeting, Commissioner Philip Griffitts gave a recap to the commission’s trip to Washington D.C. 

The group of five met with FEMA officials, federal agencies and members of legislation, all while finding new ways and programs to get our area back to standard.

Griffitts says the relationship with FEMA has been trying at times but the trip helped smooth some things out.

He says this trip really helped the county dig even deeper into finding solutions as the county rebuilds. “I think we got to the top grass. We got to the decision makers as opposed to just the lower level employees. We met with folks that can truly make a difference in the way the agencies are run and hopefully we made some progress. I really do think we did,” said Griffitts. 

The Senate is set to vote on a federal disaster bill package this week and Griffitts says he hopes their trip will have some type of positive impact on the decision.

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