Peter Milián has sifted through hundreds of photos of his cousin Marcus Guara and his family over the past few days from their beachfront condominium collapsed, killing the family of four.
He finds himself revisiting the one that was posted on Facebook last year to celebrate Father’s Day. It shows a collage of three family shots, Marcus Guara firmly in the middle of each, smiling broadly as he hugs his daughters and wife. To honor this day, he chose a movie that they would all watch together.
It reminds him how much of the apartment 802 in the South Champlain towers was always full of life. It was the home of the Guara family: Marcus and Anaely Guara and their two daughters, Lucia Guara, 10, and Emma Guara, 4.
Amid suffocating grief, Milián and other members of his family cling to the bittersweet comfort that the four family members perished together when the apartment complex collapsed; that they died as they had lived: as one.
“I know it sounds terrible to say this, but sometimes you take comfort in knowing that the four of them were together,” Milián said Thursday.
The remains of 52-year-old Marcus Guara were the first to emerge from the rubble on Saturday. The girls and their mother were picked up on Wednesday.
Marcus Guara studied commerce at the University of Miami, where he was the captain of the rowing team, and worked as a regional sales manager for New York-based bed and bath textile company Kassatex. But he was above all a father.
“He loved life and he loved his family. I mean, he loved his family dearly. He lived for them, ”said Milián, vice president of sales for Clear Channel Outdoor in Miami. He added that Guara was “the kind of person who makes everyone feel good”.
Kassatex CEO and founder Ernesto Khoudari said in a statement that Guara’s colleagues “are heartbroken to lose one of our best.”
“Marcus was truly an amazing human being. From the moment he started working with us, his creativity, his liveliness for the company, his charming smile and his never give up attitude fueled his passion for our company and the loyal relationships he has forged in the process. road, ”said Khoudari.
“As a family brand, he was our father. Our Zoom teleconferences were always visited regularly by his adorable daughters because he was so proud of his family. “
Former rowing teammates took to social media to remember and honor a man whose work ethic inspired others and was known as a fierce competitor.
“Marc had an infectious laugh and a smile to accompany the stories, which put a young child home when he was 1,400 miles from home,” wrote Jim Heller, a former rowing teammate. “Marc was a joker and had a natural charisma that made everyone feel good.”
Another former teammate, Mike Spring, told the story of a comeback from a rowing competition and running out of gas. With the fuel gauge empty, Guara remained calm as the duo drove nervously looking for an open fuel pump.
“We finally found a station, refueled and laughed all the way to campus,” Spring wrote on Twitter. “Marc was a great person who has made life better for everyone, whether you are in a stressful situation or not.”
Milián said he hoped the deaths of Guara, his wife and daughters could make people appreciate life and family a little more.
“There are a lot of tragedies in this world,” he said. “You hear about things like the Parkland shooting, the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. How many tragedies have happened with COVID? But I mean, you don’t hear about entire families wiped out.