(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- During a ceremony at the U.S. Southern Command's Conference Center of the Americas in Doral, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz was awarded with the Outstanding Civilian Service Award. Gen. Douglas Fraser of the U.S. Air Forces, commander of U.S. Southern Command presented the award to Commissioner Diaz's for his longstanding support to SOUTHCOM and the Miami-Dade County's military community.
Photo credits: Ryan Holloway/ Miami-Dade County Photographer
Commissioner Diaz' many contributions in support of SOUTHCOM date back more than a decade, during which he continuously worked with local community leaders to help the command and its staff easily integrate after relocating to South Florida from Panama in 1997. As the county's military liaison, he facilitated introductions with chambers of commerce, city councils, state legislators, and academic institutions and helped the command build mutually-beneficial partnerships across the county and the state. Commissioner Diaz has sponsored legislation that created the Military Affairs board as well as supported a proposal by the State of Florida to make state-owned land in Miami Dade County available to the Secretary of Defense as a permanent site for SOUTHCOM's headquarters. During construction of the command's new headquarters, he also worked with various regulatory agencies to ensure all permits were approved in time to avoid unnecessary project delays.
"It is truly an honor to receive the Outstanding Civilian Award" said Commissioner Diaz, Miami-Dade County Military Liaison, "but ensuring our men and women, who serve our country receive the resources they need, is a reward in itself because of their great dedication and sacrifices they make day in and day out."
Most recently the commissioner sponsored legislation and won approval, to create a Military Affairs Board that includes SOUTHCOM representation and which will provide the Board of County Commissioners with recommendations regarding the armed forces and how to approve the quality of life for men and women in the military. The Military Affairs Board promotes, attracts, and solicits military activities in Miami-Dade County and also advocates on behalf of military personnel on issues such as health care, housing, loans, pension benefits, education, employment, unemployment benefits, disability claims, vocational training, and insurance.
The Outstanding Civilian Service Award was created in 1959 by the Secretary of the Army, to recognize private citizens for outstanding service resulting in noteworthy contributions to a command.