by Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read July 2019 — Florida is home to over 1.5 million military veterans and over 90,000 active duty and reserve members of the armed forces. The commitment to the US military is embedded in the fabric of Florida’s DNA and the reason why so many of these individuals have chosen to call this state home.
While this dedication to the military can be found throughout the major hubs in the state, Broward County has presented itself as a standout among its peers throughout Florida.
Since 1945, Broward County Veterans Services has been helping not only veterans but also their families and dependents. Florida’s veterans pump more than $18.4 billion into Florida’s economy each year, and in return Broward County offers services like assistance accessing benefits and entitlements. The involvement with veterans is not limited to the county, as local businesses and organizations consistently create initiatives to make life easier for those who have served.
Kathleen Cannon, CEO of United Way of Broward County, is among those spearheading specific initiatives in Broward County. The Mission United program helps veterans reacclimate to civilian life by giving them the services and support they need to progress to the next stage of their lives. Last year Invest: Greater Fort Lauderdale spoke to Cannon about her community initiatives with United Way, and what she said resonates with the current Mission United program. “It is really important to the community that the businesses and nonprofit organizations in Broward work well together without egos and with open discussions on how to solve important social issues. The business community continues to step up because it understands the relationship between helping people and a thriving Broward,” she said. “We are a part of the economic engine because we are working to get people to the next level by providing them with the resources they need to improve their education, skills and, ultimately, their financial stability.”
Small businesses in Broward are also always looking for ways to become more involved and give back to the armed forces community. These initiatives may not be on the same scope as what organizations like the United Way are working to accomplish, but they are addressing everyday needs for these individuals. One example is Pompano Beach’s Beauty Anatomy Institute of Cosmetology and Wellness. It offered free haircuts every Thursday to all active-duty military and veterans during the month of May, which was Military Appreciation Month.
Broward County understands not only the economic value its veterans and active military bring to the region, but also the intrinsic value of the sacrifice these individuals have made.
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