PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis was at Panama City Beach Fire Station 30 Tuesday morning with a check in hand for local first responders.

Cancer is the leading cause of death for firefighters across the nation. In 2020, Jimmy Patronis created a cancer decontamination grant initiative for fire departments to purchase lifesaving equipment needed to mitigate cancer-causing contaminants.

He presented over 15,000 dollars in grant money to Panama City Beach Fire Rescue, Panama City area fire departments, and to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.

Patronis said being able to give this money to first responders that serve in his local community is something special.

“Fires happen every day. We are not going to be able to stop them from happening, but we can do everything to ensure our brave first responders have everything they need to live long and healthy lives,” Patronis said.

The grant money will likely go towards purchasing new extractors, a heavy duty machine used to extract carcinogens from firefighting gear.

Patronis said preventing cancer before it happens is key, and he hopes to provide even more resources for firefighters in the future including better health care options.