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Young artist, devoted couple, Little League coach among victims of Florida collapse

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Search and rescue personnel with a rescue dog continue to search for casualties days after the partial collapse of a residential building in Surfside near Miami Beach, Florida, United States on June 27, 2021. REUTERS / Maria Alejandra Cardona

June 28 (Reuters) – As search and rescue teams still search the rubble of a collapsed condominium building in Florida, authorities on Monday identified eight of the 11 confirmed victims of the disaster, with 150 people still missing. Read more

Among those recovered from the rubble of the oceanfront town of Surfside were a young Puerto Rican graphic designer who refused to be put off by a disability, a dedicated couple who had been married for nearly 60 years, and a coach from Little League baseball volunteer.

Here is a brief profile of six of them:

LUIS ANDRES BERMUDEZ AND ANA ORTIZ

Luis Andres Bermudez, a young graphic designer from Puerto Rico, was an example of inspiring courage who never let a disability take him away from his dreams or dampen his sunny character, his former teacher said. Andres Bermudez, 26, lived with his mother Ana Ortiz, 46, who has also been identified as one of the victims of the collapse.

“Luis Andres is an example of courage and bravery FOR us ALL,” said Jose J. Ortiz Carlo, a teacher who took Andres Bermudez in a photography class at Robinson School in Puerto Rico, where he graduated. in 2014.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy, Andres Bermudez, known as Luiyo, never skipped school and always smiled, the teacher said on Facebook.

In 2018, he launched Saucy Boyz Clothing, a fashion line of t-shirts and caps with his artwork on them which he called “a dream come true for me” on social media.

The young man’s father, Luis Didi Bermudez, who was estranged from his mother and was not in the apartment building when he collapsed, mourned his son, saying in a Facebook post translated from Spanish: ” You are and will be the best in my life. “

Alex Garcia, a close friend of Ortiz, told the Miami Herald that she had just married her friend, Frankie Kleiman, who was also missing in the wreckage. Ortiz was “a rock star” who was committed to giving her son the best possible life, Garcia said.

LEON OLIWKOWICZ AND CHRISTINA BEATRIZ ELVIRA

A couple identified by police as Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, and his wife, Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, were both from Venezuela and active in the ultra-Orthodox Chabad Lubavitch community, according to COLlive.com, a news outlet. that covers Chabad. Lubavitch communities. In 2019, the couple donated a Torah scroll to Yeshivas Ohr Eliyahu – Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago, a school where their daughter works as a secretary. Venezuelan journalist Shirley Varnagy, a friend of their daughter, said on Instagram that the couple were among six Venezuelans who lived in the building.

ANTONIO LOZANO AND GLADYS LOZANO

Antonio Lozano, 83, and Gladys Lozano, 79, were joking about who would die first because they didn’t want to live without each other, their son Sergio told WPLG, a Miami ABC affiliate. The couple are said to have celebrated their 59th birthday on July 21, said Sergio, who dined with them hours before the deadly collapse in the early hours of Thursday. “Both were avid donors to nonprofits, especially cancer since my grandmother lost her mother to the disease,” the couple’s grandson Brian said in a statement. a smile on someone’s face. Their souls were truly beautiful and are now blessed. “

LAFONT MANUAL

Manuel LaFont, 54, was with his 10-year-old son on the baseball field almost every day. Those who knew the Little League coach, known as Manny, said he was dedicated to helping children become better players, according to People magazine. The father of two and business consultant was sleeping when the building collapsed, his ex-wife, Adriana, told USA TODAY Network. She confirmed her death on Facebook, writing: “So many memories inside the walls that are no longer today, experiences forever etched in my heart! My manny, who has been my partner for so many years, father of my children, who scolds me and loves me at the same time.

STACIE FANG

Stacie Fang, 54, was the mother of one of the few people known to have survived the collapse. Her son, Jonah Handler, 15, was pulled from the wreckage hours after the building fell.

Fang was the vice president of a company that hosts an annual event for heads of customer relationship management, retail and marketing, according to her LinkedIn account. A former resident of Staten Island in New York, she graduated from Pace University in New York. “There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,” her family said in a statement.

Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Linda So in Washington; Editing by Alistair Bell

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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