When we speak of Luis Joaquín Laborde Sala, we speak of a friend, of that friend who considered other people without any thought of self; of he, a fatherly counselor, who brings the sound advice when you are worried; he who identifies himself with the poor, the needy, the underdog and the homeless—for those he shed tears for many times, even those he never met. He who had a dream of a world of social justice and true happiness for all people, of a place where there is no one in need of neither food nor love.
Luis Joaquín Laborde Sala was born on September the 7th, 1930 in the small coastal town of Hatillo. His father was Luis R. Laborde, native-born from the neighboring town of Camuy, who was a lover of good music, literature and poetry. His mother, Maria D. Sala of Laborde, native-born of Hatillo, was a distinguished Spanish teacher who worked for many years in Puerto Rico’s public school system.
He was raised in a peaceful environment, being him the object of love by part of his family. He was well-known for his preference to get acquainted with the humble. His youth is characterized by his good taste for good music and poetry—he even debuted as a singer of folk music. He practiced several sports, emphasizing in everything noble and sound that life offers. He attended school in the towns of Arecibo, Hatillo and the state of Texas.
He joined the U.S. Army at age 21. After completing duties with the Armed Forces he was honorably discharged. He worked for Puerto Rico’s Board of Education as a school teacher and Community School Coordinator. He also worked for San Juan’s Metropolitan Bus Authority in which he implemented a special tariff program for the elderly. Summing up: In one way or the other, he has always been a public servant.
Now, I, as pastor and long-time friend of Luis Joaquin Laborde Sala for over 20 years, could declare and affirm so many wonderful things about his personal traits and qualities, of his good faith for his brethren and all people—even those he never met. But, this time, it is not only me who bear witness of these words, but those who knew him truly and are long-time close friends since his childhood; and, today, still recall many memorable moments about him.
The Voice of the Third Angel