Worker who died in bridge collapse was loving, funny and ‘a motivating guy,’ says brother

3 mins read
Bridge collapse worker
Maynor Suazo Sandoval poses with his sister-in-law in an undated photo. Sandoval, who attended an evangelical Christian church in Owings Mills, Md., was one of the six construction workers who perished March 26, 2024, when a cargo vessel apparently lost power, ran into the Francis Scott Key Bridge and caused it to collapse. (OSV News photo/Carlos A. Suazo Sandoval)

(OSV News) — In a video Maynor Suazo Sandoval shared with his family this past winter, the immigrant from Honduras highlighted the snow that was falling outside where he was doing construction work in Baltimore. He wanted his nephews and nieces to see how their uncle earned his money.

“Take care, all of you,” he said in his native Spanish. “I love you very much — a hug because life brought us here, the song said, so bless you all.”

Sandoval, who attended an evangelical Christian church in Owings Mills, was one of the six construction workers who perished March 26 when a cargo vessel apparently lost power, ran into the Francis Scott Key Bridge and caused it to collapse. The workers, all immigrants from Mexico and Central America, had been filling potholes on the iconic bridge not far from the Port of Baltimore.

Remembered by his family

The Catholic Review, Baltimore’s archdiocesan news outlet, spoke with Carlos Alexis Suazo Sandoval, one of his older brothers, who lives in Maryland.

“We are eight brothers, I am one of the middle brothers, and Maynor is the youngest; he is 38 years old,” said Carlos, who still sometimes speaks of his brother in the present tense.

The tragedy literally changed the Suazo Sandoval family’s life overnight, as well as that of his wife, his 18-year-old son, and his 6-year-old daughter.

“It has been very difficult news for everyone, for my mother, for everyone,” said Carlos, who commented that his 82-year-old mother is always surrounded by her relatives in Honduras while they await news of the search operation and recovery of the bodies.

Rosa Emerita Sandoval Paz, Maynor’s mother, received the call that her son was on the bridge when it collapsed. She immediately called Carlos and Norma, one of the sisters who lives in the Baltimore area.

Maynor Suazo Sandoval, right, poses in an undated photo with his sister Norma L. Suazo Sandoval. (OSV News photo/Carlos A. Suazo Sandoval)

Since then, the days have passed amid notifications from state and federal agencies informing them of the latest news. So far, two of the six workers’ bodies have been recovered.

‘Very loving and very funny’

Redemptorist Father Ako Walker, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus-Sagrado Corazón de Jesús in Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood, was with the families of the six lost construction workers while they awaited word of their loved ones.

Carlos, a Catholic, said his brother was “a nice person to me, my sister and everyone.”

“Maynor was very loving and very funny,” he said. “He would come here at this hour, and I don’t know where he got so much strength, but he was always a motivating guy.”

Carlos admires his brother for his determination to get ahead, his entrepreneurial spirit and his great capacity for work.

“He already had his hotel there — in Honduras — and was about to open a pawn shop. … Here, after the company’s work, he did his work; he has a truck there,” he said.

Maynor was a fan of the Fútbol Club Motagua, a soccer team from the capital of Honduras. His love for the sport led him to partner with one of his cousins to financially help minor leagues in his native Azacualpa, the town where he was born. His character and generosity inspired many. “Minute by minute, my phone rings, and they are his friends, people who worked with Maynor before he came to the United States, and they can’t believe it,” Carlos said.

Planning a burial in Honduras

“If God allows it and everything goes well, we want my mother to be the one to give him a Christian burial in Honduras; we would like the woman who brought him to this world to say goodbye to him as well,” said Carlos, who along with his family was still mourning the loss of his father Jorge Alberto Suazo Maldonado, who passed away just nine months ago.

Carlos noted that last year their mother came to visit them, a moment that will remain in the memory and the heart of this family that mourns the departure of a son, a father and a husband.

“He did everything for my mom and for my dad, too. He wanted to do everything for them. My mom will suffer a lot, a lot because he was the most spoiled, the youngest,” Carlos said.

“I want you to remember and honor the memory of my brother,” Carlos Alexis Suazo Sandoval asked of those who knew his brother in his work, in his social circle, in his church, in his family life. Remembering the person he was, the laughter he provoked, the hugs he gave and the footprints he left will be the memory and legacy that will keep him alive among them.

OSV News

OSV News is a national and international wire service reporting on Catholic issues and issues that affect Catholics.