For 24/7 counsel, call the National Veteran Crisis Hotline at 988, Press 1. You may also call the Florida Veterans Support Line at 1-844-MyFLVet (1-844-693-5838) or dial 211.


Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Hosts Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots Roundtable with Veteran Senators

December 20, 2023

LAND O’ LAKES, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs hosted a Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots roundtable with Senator Daniel Burgess and Senator Jay Collins at the Baldomero Lopez State Veterans’ Nursing Home. The event highlighted the Hope Florida expansion Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis recently announced which increases support for Florida veterans by connecting them to services, earned benefits ‎and community resources through Hope Navigators. Unique to this Hope Florida expansion for veterans, Hope Navigators coordinate with FDVA’s Veterans’ Claims Examiners to assist veterans in navigating their benefits.

“As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I know firsthand the difficulties of adjusting to civilian life after time in the service,” said Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director James S. “Hammer” Hartsell. “I am proud to join Florida Senators and fellow veterans to discuss First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Hope Florida initiative and the ways it is transforming how government operates to unite communities and resources in support of the brave men and women who have sacrificed and fought for our country.”

“As both a retired Army Green Beret and a military spouse, I have seen the difficulties that many veterans experience while transitioning to civilian life,” said Senator Jay Collins. “Hope Florida will connect our heroes to the services, earned benefits ‎and community resources they need to facilitate a successful transition. Initiatives like Hope Florida are why Florida is the most veteran-friendly state in the country, and why so many veterans have flocked to our great state. I am honored to stand with our First Lady, we are truly blessed to have her exemplary leadership and unwavering support for Florida’s veterans.”

 “I’m honored to have Hope Florida at Baldomero Lopez in Pasco County for A Pathway to Patriots Roundtable,” said Senator Daniel Burgess. “In particular, I want to thank Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis for her tireless work on this important issue. It wouldn’t be possible without her. When I served as Executive Director of FDVA, we implemented initiatives helping Florida’s veterans better access their earned services, benefits and support. Hope Florida is the missing link and will build on the groundwork we laid, and I am eager to see them continue this critical work.”

FDVA is ‎a ‎constitutionally chartered ‎department ‎responsible for serving the Nation’s ‎estimated second-largest veteran ‎‎population. ‎Operating as the premier point of entry for Florida’s ‎‎nearly 1.5 million veterans, FDVA ‎‎operates a ‎‎network of State Veterans’ Homes and ‎provides statewide outreach to connect ‎‎veterans ‎‎with earned services, benefits, and support. ‎

Veterans and their families who need services can connect with Hope Florida by visiting or calling the Hope Line (850-300-HOPE).

Hope Florida, launched by First Lady DeSantis in 2021 has been implemented by multiple agencies including, the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the Guardian ad Litem Office and the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. This initiative utilizes Hope Navigators to guide Floridians on an individualized path to prosperity and economic self-sufficiency by focusing on community collaboration between the private sector, faith-based community, nonprofits and government entities to break down traditional community silos to maximize support and uncover opportunities. These Hope Navigators are essential in helping individuals identify their unique and immediate barriers to prosperity, develop long-term goals, map out a strategic plan and work to ensure all sectors of the community have a ‘seat at the table’ to be a key part of the solution. In addition, Hope Navigators help identify and organize opportunities for Floridians who wish to help their neighbors by connecting community members, including Florida seniors, with volunteer and mentorship opportunities.

‎For more information on Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots, visit

A Pathway for Patriots Roundtable with Veteran Senators