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Florida response to Sandy includes Seminole Tribe and FPL staff

 Two of South Florida's largest businesses have reached out to offer their expertise in hurricane response to their bretheren in New York and New Jersey.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida announced today that, for the first time in history, it has deployed an emergency management team to assist the Shinnecock Indian Nation of New York.

Florida Power & Light last week not only deployed an estimated 860 employees and contractor workers to Virginia to New Jersey to help restore power to the areas hit by Hurricane Sandy, but the cpmpany also arranged to help many of those employees get an absentee ballot to vote while they are out of town.

"For those that did not already cast their votes prior to deploying, we’re coordinating absentee ballot requests and returns in the field,'' said FPL spokesman Mark Bubriski. 

The Seminoles, a 3,800-member tribe that owns the Hard Rock casinos in Hollywood and Tampa and five other casinos in Florida, sent two members of their emergency management division to Shinnecock Indian Nation in eastern Long Island, New York, to help them organize recovery efforts.

“This is the first time that we have been a part of the emergency management system as a conduit to provide assistance to another tribe,” said Jerry Wheeler, Public Safety Director for the Seminole Tribe of Florida in a statement. “As we work to assist the Shinnecock Indian Nation, we will not hesitate to expand our relief efforts to other entities that need assistance within our emergency management expertise.”

The Shinnecock Indian Nation, which has 1,400 members, experienced flooding of burial grounds and other areas, damage to homes and government buildings, debris and power outages. The Seminole Tribe hopes to help the Shinnecock's recover now and establish an effective emergency response system for the future.

Video: provided by FPL