Associate member Ralph Morera
Ralph hadn’t seen them in 12 years. At age 14, he had left his native Cuba and come to America without them.
His parents had wanted him to have a good life, and something called “Operation Peter Pan” offered him a chance.
Ralph was one of 14,202 Cuban children “Operation Peter Pan” helped to escape Fidel Castro’s ruthless communist regime and find shelter in American foster homes. All of these children have their own stories to tell.
Ralph wound up in New York City, working during the day and going to high school at night.
That impressed his foster family. They saw this young man pursuing the American dream, and they wanted to help. They paid for him to finish high school and college.
But they had one more gift in store for Ralph.
While he was in college, Ralph’s parents had managed to leave Cuba. They lived in Spain for two years, trying to get a visa to enter the United States. Ralph’s foster family arranged for the Moreras to come to America, paying all their expenses so they could arrive two weeks before Ralph’s graduation.
The Morera family reunion was as tearful as it was joyous. “I almost lost my face,” Ralph recalls, “with my mother pinching my cheeks and exclaiming ‘I can’t believe it’s you!’”
Since that unforgettable dinner, Ralph’s parents have passed, and Ralph has gone on to great things.
In addition to his career as an accountant, Ralph has served as chairman of the American Red Cross of Greater Miami. He has been a board member of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the economic development organization for Miami-Dade County. He has also served on the Board of Goodwill Industries of South Florida and as president of the Cuban-American CPA Association.
As much as all Heritage Foundation members appreciate America’s freedoms, few can savor them more than Ralph Morera and his fellow Peter-Panners. His profound love for America has been passed on to his two children and four grandchildren who, thankfully, have no need for the services of “Operation Peter Pan.”