MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Two members of Mora family were among those victims recently found at the site of the Surfside collapsed condo.
Juan Mora Jr. was living in Chicago and decided to spend the summer with his parents at the Champlain Towers.READ MORE: Florida Is Ditching Palm Trees To Fight Climate Crisis
On Friday night, CBS4’s Jessica Vallejo spoke to one of his good friends.
That friend says Juan showed us that no matter what life throws at you, to always see the positive.
“He was always smiling. He was always laughing. He just had this really great smile that is unforgettable. And when I think about him now I think of that smile,” said Sarah Marie Selem, a friend of Juan’s.
“A man who lived his life with joy. Who’s full of life energy — brought you happiness,” that is how those who knew Juan described him.
Sarah says she was lucky to be friends with Juan for more than 15 years.
“I think when you meet Juan you could just 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 to two Cuban immigrants.
As neighbors, Sarah was always with Juan.
She says their friendship grew when they would go on Belen Youth mission trips together.
Juan had attended more than 10 of those mission trips.
During those trips, he would assist in building a bridge throughout different underserved areas.
“But, in going on those trips you know everybody really came to know Juan at some point because of his energy and his joy. He just always stood out.”READ MORE: COVID-19 Testing Sites In South Florida
Besides being humble, he was 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. He recently worked for Morton Salt in Chicago.
But it wasn’t his intelligence that stood him apart from others.
“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 dad, 80-year-old Juan Mora Sr. were among those found dead in the rubble.
Ana Mora, wife to Juan Sr. and mother to Juan is still missing as the search for all those unaccounted for still continues.
“Search and recovery continued full steam as always. Today we recovered another victim the total number of confirmed deaths is now 79. Fifty-three 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 a near-constant caravan of police cars, search teams and dump trucks, which are loaded with concrete debris from the collapse.
A total of 13 million pounds of concrete and debris has been hauled away thus far.
Miami-Dade officials say every victim recovered is also being handled with extreme care and compassion.
“In regards to our recovery efforts, we are searching every area. We are going through every component and we want to exhaust every avenue in that search,” said Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Vaccination Sites In South Florida
A total of 61 people remain unaccounted for and search and rescue teams say they will not stop until they get to the bottom of the rubble.