News: SOUTHCOM to recognize Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz’ support to military
MIAMI -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of U.S. Southern Command, will present the Outstanding Civilian Service Award to Miami-Dade County District 12 Commissioner José "Pepe" Diaz during a formal ceremony 10 a.m. Oct. 11 at the command’s Conference Center of the Americas in Doral.
Fraser will present the Department of the Army award to Diaz in recognition of his longstanding support to SOUTHCOM and Miami-Dade County’s military community.
The Secretary of the Army established the Outstanding Civilian Service Award in 1959 to recognize private citizens for outstanding service resulting in substantial or significant contributions to a command.
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.
In 2004, Diaz sponsored a resolution supporting 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.
The commissioner also sponsored legislation, approved by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners in May, to create a Military Affairs Board that includes SOUTHCOM representation and provides commissioners with recommendations regarding the armed forces.
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.