TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Simon Canasi is a shining example of what you can accomplish with hard work. He has been named the Hispanic Heritage Man of the Year.
For, Canasi, visiting his old neighborhood brings back a lot of memories.
"It was a phenomenal neighborhood. It was very mixed. There were Cubans, Italians, there were Spanish, African Americans, a little bit of everything and it was a tremendous experience for me," Canasi said.
He and his family left Cuba to come to the U.S. in 1961, when he was five. He graduated from Hillsborough High School and got a degree in accounting from the University of South Florida.
"I spent the first 30 years of my career as a wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch and the last 10 years of my career I spent it as a senior vice president management advisor at Morgan Stanley," he said.
Canasi is now the 2019 Tampa Hispanic Heritage Man of the Year.
"I cannot tell you how many people were instrumental in molding me to the person that I became," said Canasi.
He credits many people he met while going to the Boys and Girls Club as a child. Now he goes back to help others because of what he learned there.
"If you have been able to take full advantage of the American dream, it is an obligation. I look at it as an obligation to pay it forward. It's a very selfish act if you don't," he said.