Dear Major Duarte,
Please accept my sincere and heartfelt thanks for the help and support the Florida Highway Patrol has given and is still giving the state of Mississippi, and more specifically the residence of Diamondhead, Mississippi.
My father, who was a Kentucky State Trooper and retired from the ATF, lives in Diamondhead. I was there with him when Katrina hit, we rode the storm out in his home together. Luckily, we were not harmed, his house went under water half way up the second story but was spared major structural damage. The place is a mess though, as is most of the south side of Diamondhead.
The first responders I remember were Florida State Troopers. They have been nothing less than awesome. They brought us water, ice, food and most important, they brought truck loads of compassion, understanding and a wonderful attitude. They were never empty handed and never turned their back on us.
Even if I never see them again, I know that I have made life long friends with many of your Troopers. Words seem terribly inadequate to express how much their presence has helped everyone here. Even though they are away from their families and friends, their attitudes have been so warm and caring.
The State of Florida should be very, very proud of the way there Troopers have behaved and performed while away from home and in some very stressful, hopeless and helpless places.
Two Troopers I wish to personally thank are Trooper Mike Mattiza and a Trooper who's name I can't recall, however, he drives a Camaro and loves the Marine Corp., Also he is a rather large Trooper. These two Troopers helped my father in ways I can't begin to describe.
My father was assigned details guarding Presidents Reagan and Bush (41). All of his citations and memorabilia as well as scrape books were lost in the hurricane. By talking to these fellow "Law Men" ,he has managed to come to terms with his loss and, in time, will be able to rebuild some of what was lost. They didn't have to take the time to talk to him but they did, and in the process, they may have, quite literally, given my father a new lease on life.
I could go on and on, about many other Troopers, but I would still not be able to scratch the surface of all the good the Florida Troopers have done.
Please know that the people of Coelho Way in Diamondhead, Mississippi think the Florida State Troopers are the best and we are all eternally grateful.
With Kindest Regards,