‘His Joy For Life Brought You Happiness,’ Friend Describes Surfside Victim Juan Mora Jr – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two members of the Mora family were among the victims recently found on the grounds of the collapsed Surfside condo.

Juan Mora Jr. lived in Chicago and decided to spend the summer at the Champlain Towers with his parents.

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On Friday night, CBS4’s Jessica Vallejo spoke to one of his good friends.

This friend says Juan showed us that no matter what life throws at you, there is always the positive to see.

“He always smiled. He always laughed. He just had this really great smile that is unforgettable. And when I think of him now, I think of that smile, ”said Sarah Marie Selem, a friend of Juan.

“A man who lived his life with joy. Anyone who is full of life energy – brought you luck, “that’s how those who knew Juan described him.

Sarah says she was lucky enough to be friends with Juan for over 15 years.

“I think if you meet Juan you could never forget him because of that smile and because he just always made you laugh,” she said.

Juan grew up in the Gables. He was born the son of two Cuban immigrants.

As a neighbor, Sarah was always with Juan.

She says their friendship grew when they went on missionary trips for the Belen Youth together.

Juan had participated in more than 10 of these mission trips.

During these trips he helped build a bridge through various underserved areas.

“But on these trips everyone really got to know Juan at some point because of his energy and his joy. He was just always noticed. ”

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He was not only humble but also adventurous.

The 32-year-old attended college in Chicago and lived in China for about 4 years.

He spoke five languages ​​and lived in four cities. Most recently he worked for Morton Salt in Chicago.

But it wasn’t his intelligence that set him apart.

“He had such a good heart and his family and friends here will never forget him.”

On Wednesday and Friday, Miami-Dade police confirmed that Juan and his father, 80-year-old Juan Mora Sr., were found among the dead in the rubble.

Ana Mora, wife of Juan Sr. and mother of Juan, is still missing as the search for all the missing continues.

“The search and recovery continued at full speed as always. Today we recovered another victim, the total confirmed deaths are now 79. 53 victims have now been identified and 51 next of kin notifications, ”said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

The road to the collapse site is an almost permanent caravan of police cars, search parties, and dump trucks loaded with concrete rubble from the collapse.

A total of 13 million pounds of concrete and rubble has been removed so far.

Miami-Dade officials say that every victim recovered will also be treated with the utmost care and compassion.

“In terms of our recovery efforts, we search each area. We go through every component and want to exhaust every route in this search, ”said Alan Cominsky, Miami-Dade Fire Department chief.

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A total of 61 people remain missing and search and rescue teams say they won’t stop until they reach the bottom of the rubble.

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