hurricane ian relief program
Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida. With our community reeling from untold pain and destruction, others stepped up to help. People across Southwest Florida, the rest of the State, and the entire Country offered a hand. There are countless stories of heroism by selfless first responders and even everyday citizens. What’s more, the outpouring of emotional and economic support has been truly unbelievable. One instance of this was the Hurricane Ian Relief Program.
Without hesitating, the Middle District of Florida—through its Bench Bar Fund—decided to help get Southwest Florida’s legal system back up and running. To do so, it offered generous financial support to members of the legal community adversely affected by the storm. This was no small feat. Putting together a comprehensive financial support program in response to a natural disaster is a tough task. But Bench Bar performed a minor miracle. On a moment’s notice, it envisioned, created, and administered the Program. As a result, hundreds of our legal community members received relief.
While the Program helped so many, it could not provide relief to Court employees given rules surrounding the use of Bench Bar Funds. But again, the community responded. The Middle District’s Judges, practitioners, and other Federal Bar Associations (Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville) provided their own personal donations to ensure Court employees could get back on their feet too. Once more, this was just another example of how our District stuck together to help one another.
This program was a stunning success. All told, the Program distributed over $210,000 to more than 400 people. Fed Bar played a small part in administering the Program by collecting and distributing the funds. But Bench Bar, the other Federal Bar Associations, and numerous individuals deserve all the credit. Behind the scenes, they dedicated unimaginable energy and hours to making sure this Program ran smoothly. There are too many people to recognize and thank for their hard work. Some individuals who deserve a special thanks include Chief Judge Corrigan, Judge Howard, Peggy Miller, and Megan Mann. Yet we are grateful to everyone who contributed their time, money, and talents to make this Program a reality. Together, our District is strong. And it can whether any storm, no matter how destructive.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Program. It went a long way to rebuilding our legal community, which helped keep our region #SWFLStrong!
To achieve our mission and vision, the Association:
- Sponsors quality education programs for members and the public;
- Keeps members informed of current developments in the law;
- Addresses issues raised by members and judiciary concerning local federal practice;
- Provides members opportunities to assume leadership roles and perform community service; and
- Sponsors events to encourage collegiality, civility, and professionalism among members.