SURFSIDE, Fla. – First responders from Florida’s Task Force1 and 2 received a “Surfside memorial challenge coin” during this year’s United Search and Rescue recognition ceremony Tuesday morning.
On one side of the coin, it reads respect, unity, courage, and integrity.
On the other, a picture of the partial Surfside building collapsed.
Florida State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis and other local leaders honored the efforts of the men and women who were the first two search and rescue teams at Surfside.
We honored the men and women of US&R 1 and 2 this morning in Miami with challenge coins. These brave heroes were the first on scene last summer in Surfside. They dedicated themselves to that mission, and I thank them for their bravery and heroism. @FLTF2USAR @CityofMiamiFire pic.twitter.com/BADR12fbef— Jimmy Patronis (@JimmyPatronis) March 1, 2022
“I know I saw the work of God when hundreds of showed up and were working on this mound of rubble fighting to ensure they were any sign of hopes of life,” he said.
Frank Garcia from Task Force 1 recalls the tragic day when he arrived at the collapse.
“We train and we train all year long and there’s no way to be prepared to that level. I’ve had some really high moments in Surfside and some really low moments”, he said.
Patronis says he’s working towards getting 10 million dollars in this year’s budget and putting it towards training and tools for those two teams.