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Florida Guard Honors Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Employees

June 26, 2020 | BY Army Maj. Jesse Manzano

As the Florida National Guard continues to support the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, strong partnerships with local agencies have become crucial to the success of the guard's ongoing mission in South Florida.

A soldier presents an award to a civilian.
Medal Presentation
Army Lt. Col. Jeff Moore, commander of the Florida Army National Guard’s 254th Transportation Battalion, right, presents the Florida Commendation Medal to Arturo Abreu, logistics manager with Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue, for his support of the county’s walk-up community-based COVID-19 testing sites, June 12, 2020.
Photo By: Army Maj. Jesse Manzano, Florida Army National Guard
VIRIN: 200612-Z-GG202-011A

In recognition of the logistical assistance received from local partners in support of walk-up community-based testing sites in Miami-Dade County, two members of the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department were recently awarded the Florida Commendation Medal.

"Having served in the Florida Guard, I appreciate all that the guard does, and understand the importance of this relationship," said Brandon Webb, battalion chief of Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue's special operations division. "The guard's presence in Miami-Dade has been instrumental in helping us serve our residents."

Two soldiers congratulate a civilian as men wearing Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue T-shirts look on.
Award Ceremony
Army Lt. Col. Jeff Moore, commander of the Florida Army National Guard’s 254th Transportation Battalion, and Army Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Aycock, the 254th Transportation Battalion command sergeant major, congratulate Brandon Webb, battalion chief with Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue’s special operations division, after presenting him with the Florida Commendation Medal for his support of the county’s walk-up community-based testing sites, June 12, 2020.).
Photo By: Army Maj. Jesse Manzano, Florida Army National Guard
VIRIN: 200612-Z-GG202-013A

Webb served in the Florida Guard as an infantryman in D Company, 1-124th Infantry Battalion from 1991 to 1999, retiring as a noncommissioned officer. Both Webb and Arturo Abreu, the department's logistics manager, received the Florida Commendation Medal from Army Lt. Col. Jeff Moore, commander of the Florida Army National Guard’s 254th Transportation Battalion, during a ceremony held at the South Dade Government Center.

"The leadership and guidance of Chief Webb and Mr. Abreu helped us tremendously throughout our operations in support of the state's COVID-19 response in Miami-Dade," Moore said. "They helped us get what we needed, when we needed it."

A soldier presents an award to a civilian.
Medal Ceremony
Army Lt. Col. Jeff Moore, commander of the Florida Army National Guard’s 254th Transportation Battalion, presents the Florida Commendation Medal to Brandon Webb, department battalion chief with Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue’s special operations division for his support of the county’s walk-up community-based COVID-19 tTesting Sites, June 12, 2020.
Photo By: Army Maj. Jesse Manzano, Florida Army National Guard
VIRIN: 200612-Z-GG202-012A

Since mid-March, the 50th Regional Support Group has served as the guard's main effort supporting the state's COVID-19 response. Working with federal, state and local authorities throughout Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, the 50th RSG and its subordinate units have provided direct and indirect support to more than a dozen testing locations, helping to administer more than 200,000 sample collections to date. The group’s soldiers also are supporting screening operations at three airports.

(Army Maj. Jesse Manzano is assigned to the 50th Regional Support Group.)