[Dean Michael L. Coyne’s introduction of Carlos Arredondo
at the Massachusetts School of Law graduation – June 2, 2017]
Carlos Arredondo’s story is a lesson for all of us in overcoming tragedy and setbacks and the value of spending a life in service to others. After all, isn’t that what great lawyers do every day? Carlos came to Boston in 1980 from his native Costa Rica and became a naturalized citizen in 2006. Carlos lost his son Alex in service to our country in Iraq as a United States Marine. No parent should ever have to bury a child. Carlos became a passionate peace and community activist, a volunteer for the American Red Cross, Boston Stand Down for Homeless Veterans, and the St. Francis House. Carlos later lost his younger son, Brian, to suicide.
It would be easy under such circumstances to blame God or fate and retreat to bitterness and despair. Instead Carlos used his life to honor his sons’ memories, spending his life in service to others.
Like your law school and now you, Carlos has dedicated himself to movements and causes that empower people and give voices to those who cannot speak for themselves. He actively advocates for peace locally and internationally, for suicide prevention, and for support services of veterans and military families. Carlos and his wife, Mélida, founded the Arredondo Family Foundation to empower military families in the prevention of military related suicides and to provide support through education financial relief and support services.
Adversity has only strengthened Carlos’ resolve to spend a life in service of others. As you begin your next chapter in our profession, use the example he has set spending your life in service to others.
Carlos was a spectator at the 2013 Boston Marathon. When tragedy struck, Carlos, despite the human instinct to run from danger, ran towards it to help others. Carlos is the human face of those selfless and honorable men and women who served their city, our country, and their fellow man on that fateful day.
Carlos Arrendondo’s story is not just his, but ours as well. It does not matter where you started your journey. Carlos is the epitome of Boston Strong. Carlos continues to face life with extreme courage and relentless determination. He is the ultimate example that strength of character ultimately defines who we are and the life we choose to live. It is my extreme pleasure to have him as our speaker today. Please welcome him.