A Miami-Dade business leader known for his civic activities and support of military programs gave an impassioned plea on behalf of the Wounded Warriors Project in front of a West Kendall audience on Apr. 25.
Raul Mas Canosa urged members of the Citizens Advisory Committee at Miami- Dade Police Hammocks District Station to become knowledgeable of the multiple services available to returning veterans and how to volunteer assistance.
“The community needs to come together to support such programs,” stated Mas Canosa, a financial executive who became an active supporter of causes for America’s military services following the tragic events of 9/11.
In 2011, he was the first non-veteran to receive the prestigious Colonel Lettie Bien Freedom Award from the Florida League of Cities. The award is named for the retired U.S. Army officer who received several commendations for service in Iraq, including the Distinguished Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.
Loss of two close friends associated with a financial firm in the World Trade Center Tower Two became an inspiration for Mas Canosa “to become especially active in helping the military, in any way that we can.”
Leader of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee, he has been honored by helping commission three U.S. Navy destroyers and two U.S. Coast Guard vessels. He also serves as civilian advisor to the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Miami-Dade County.
Founded in 2003, the Wounded Warrior Project is raising awareness while enlisting public aid to help battle-injured service members with a variety of unique programs and services to meet specialized needs.
The program began when several veterans and friends, moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq, took action to help others in need, Mas Canosa explained.
What started as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover and transition back to civilian life.
Thousands of wounded warriors and caregivers receive support each year through WWP programs designed to nurture the mind and body, and encourage economic empowerment, he said.
Mas Canosa described technique advances to assist wounded veterans at a San Antonio hospital where “weight lifts, treadmills and other equipment is computerized to stabilize specific arms and legs of disabled military personnel.
“It’s pretty awesome to see technology that didn’t even exist five years ago working to help veterans lead better lives,” he added.
Mas Canosa had special praise for Miami Police Department that, for example, provides escort duty for deceased service personnel upon arrival at Miami International Airport, adding: “No other organization does that.”
He urged residents to contact Miami Police to offer support continuing MPD veterans projects as well as other service organizations seeking volunteers, including Operation Homefront, Florida Military Support Associations, Veterans Link-Up, Employee Support of the Guard and Reserve, Broward Navy League, Broward Navy Days, Navy SEAL Foundation, and Salute to Heroes Foundation at The Miami Foundation.
For details on Wounded Warriors programs in South Florida, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.