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 State Representatives

December 18, 2023

PANAMA CITY, Fla. – Today, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs hosted a Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots roundtable with State Representative Michelle Salzman and State Representative Patt Maney at the Clifford C. Sims 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.

Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots is changing the game in how veterans across our state access support,” said Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director James S. “Hammer” Hartsell. “We are proud that through our dedicated Hope Navigators, we can help our veterans tackle the unique challenges they are facing to create a personalized pathway for long-term success. Our gratitude goes out to the local representatives who joined us today with the united mission of serving those who have sacrificed for our freedoms.”

 “Hope Florida is already such a necessary tool to connect children and families with Hope Navigators to put them in touch with the resources the state and local communities have to offer,” said State Representative Michelle Salzman. “We are so lucky to have the Governor and First Lady expanding that mission for our veterans and their families. I know very well that it can be difficult for our veterans to navigate the resources and benefits that are provided to them, so Hope Florida – A Pathway for Patriots is going to expand access and provide veterans the services they deserve.”

 “Florida is a strong, national leader in championing initiatives that benefit our large military and veteran communities,” said State Representative Patt Maney. “The integration of the FDVA into Hope Florida’s mission, and especially hosting this important discussion in the military-dominant Panhandle, is a true testament to First Lady DeSantis’ commitment and tireless support of Florida’s military, veterans, and their families.”

 “Under the DeSantis Administration, Florida continues to build and expand services to support veterans,” said Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Shevaun Harris. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans who so valiantly served our country.  Through the expansion of Hope Florida, we will be able to engage more of Florida’s service men and women during their time of need by helping them navigate services and resources available in the community.”

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