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‘A generous man’: Baltimore bridge workers help families and communities in Honduras


Baltimore bridge worker Maynor Suazo Sandoval killed in collapse



Meno Suazo Sandoval (right) and his mother visit Niagara Falls, New York.

Meno Suazo Sandoval/Martin Suazo Sandoval


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Meno Suazo Sandoval/Martin Suazo Sandoval


Meno Suazo Sandoval (right) and his mother visit Niagara Falls, New York.

Meno Suazo Sandoval/Martin Suazo Sandoval

Maynor Suazo Sandoval left rural Asaquialpa, Honduras nearly 18 years ago with a vision of a better future for herself and her family.

He settled in Maryland, where he worked as a construction mason, package courier, and most recently as a member of the construction crew of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. collapsed early tuesday.

Suazo’s brother, Martin Suazo Sandoval, told NPR in Honduras on Wednesday that he was forced to help his family and his community in Honduras.

“My brother is a generous man,” Martin Suazo Sandoval said in Spanish.

While working in the United States, Maynor Suazo Sandoval donated money to start a hotel that provided him with work and support for his family. He also helps people in town pay for medicines and doctor visits, and provides assistance to people with disabilities.

Part of his motivation was also to help kids back home. He sponsors a youth football league.

“He always said that if our children had healthy minds and became prosperous teenagers later on, then we would definitely have a better country,” Martin Suazo Sandoval said.

Martin Suazo Sandoval, brother of Honduran citizen Meno Suazo Sandoval, spoke to the media outside his home in Asaquialpa, Honduras, on Wednesday. Martin said his brother, who was part of a maintenance crew on Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed Tuesday, is missing.

Claudio Escalon/AP


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Claudio Escalon/AP


Martin Suazo Sandoval, brother of Honduran citizen Meno Suazo Sandoval, spoke to the media outside his home in Asaquialpa, Honduras, on Wednesday. Martin said his brother, who was part of a maintenance crew on Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed Tuesday, is missing.

Claudio Escalon/AP

But Meno Suazo Sandoval has been missing since Tuesday’s bridge accident.

He was a construction worker repairing potholes on the bridge after it was struck by a cargo ship. Eight workers entered the icy waters of the Patapsco River. Two people were rescued that day.

On Wednesday, authorities back to normal The bodies of two others were found, one from Mexico and one from Guatemala. Four other workers are still missing.

Authorities have not formally identified them, but Suazo was confirmed by his family and Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, a national nonprofit that advocates for immigrants.

Suazo is a member of the organization.

“This bridge has great historical significance,” Torres said, adding that it was named for the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” “These immigrants were entrusted with maintaining and repairing it.”

Torres said the tragedy is an example of immigrants often taking on dangerous jobs to keep the country functioning.

“I really hope that people, the American people, policymakers, understand and value the amazing contributions that workers, families, men and women make in this society,” Torres said.

According to the Census, about a quarter of construction workers in the United States are foreign-born, and the majority are Hispanic.

Their labor supports the economies not only of the United States but of other countries as well.

Money sent by American workers is one of the main sources of income for countries like El Salvador and Honduras. For example, remittances account for approximately 31% of Honduras’ gross domestic product.

Maynor Suazo is one of those who sent money to his homeland. He has become a successful breadwinner for his family and the larger multinational community.

After the accident, friends and loved ones took to social media to pray and honor his legacy. Pictures of kids in brand new football kits and shiny trophies he provided decorated people’s Facebook pages.

One person wrote in Spanish: “Thank you brother for loving your homeland and its people.”

Martin Suazo Sandoval told NPR that his family has contacted authorities. They hope to bring Maynor Suazo Sandoval back to Azacualpa, where it all began.

His community is waiting for him.



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