On July 24, 2023, at the 2023 Florida Sheriff’s Association Summer Session, Okeechobee’s own Sheriff Noel E. Stephen and Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter received the FSA – 2023 Trail Blazer Award for bringing affordable health care to their employees under the Florida Sheriff’s Health Plan / Florida Sheriff’s Employee Benefit Trust. 

As both faced astronomical healthcare rises for their employees, Sheriff Hunter and Sheriff Stephen were the first to organize and join the Florida Sheriff’s Health Plan, paving the way for other agencies to join. 

What started with a few hundred enlisted employees has grown to over 6,000.00 as other sheriffs throughout Florida with similar needs join. 

Congratulations to Sheriff Mark Hunter of Columbia County and our own Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel E. Stephen for paving the way for future employee benefits for years to come. 

In the attached video, see Sheriff Hunter & Sheriff Stephen speak about the program and network.

(24) TRAILBLAZER AWARD 2023 – YouTube

By Taylor