It’s a beautiful, early Monday morning and Sylvia is ready to leave her house to go to work. She wakes up, attends her elder mother, does laundry and makes sure everything in the house is under control before leaving.
She’s a woman who never stops doing her duties yet she never seems in a hurry, when you talk with Sylvia her peaceful appearance is contagious and she always wears a smile on her face.
Sylvia, 65, lawyer and director of Legal Services – A law firm which purpose is to attend those who don’t have the budget to pay for these services— is a woman with many life daring and encouraging stories.
“I never sleep more than 6 hours a day, my job is very sacrificed and I get involved so much I can’t stay for just the working hours”
Sylvia is a tall, elegant woman, wears simple attire for her day-to-day, styles her hair loose and wears minimum makeup. Her charismatic personality is just one of her accessories.
She has a beautiful family that has grown strong; her husband, Eric Ortega is a biology professor at Interamerican University Aguadilla Campus. All three of her sons and daughters have looked forward to a life filled with education and knowledge, definitely a characteristic that both parents pass on to their sons and daughters.
“She has been an excellent mother with the three of us, and now also an excellent grandmother” said Dayana, Sylvia’s middle daughter who has recently brought a new member to the family, a three months old baby girl.
“I am now grandma of three, so in my real free time I’m still very busy, that said it’s still a beautifully busy time.”
Long talks with Sylvia are very entertaining, she loves to inspire those around her on how helping others can make one feel so complete.
Her everyday work is to help the less fortunate and she feels satisfied and complete with her job. “I always wanted to study something in which I could help many people and being a lawyer can’t be any better of a job for me” she smiles and carries on telling her stories.
“One day my husband didn’t call to let me know he was going to be home late so I decided to play the game back on him by hiding my car, myself and the kids when he came home.” … “He got hysterical because I didn’t answer, the lights were off and the keys were locked up inside.” said Sylvia, laughing and remembering the moment.
“She’s been always a very brave and determined woman, that’s why I fell in love with her” added Eric Ortega.
“I have worked on all types of cases, it’s hard because most of them can really break your heart. That’s why I have to be very strong to help them.” Sylvia’s has worked on family problems, disabled people’s rights to public services.
“I once helped a homeless person who was living in subhuman conditions on a terrain that belonged to his family, but after many years the terrain was sold and he had no family left. I wanted to contact the new owner of the property but he never answered his phone so I started to find the funds so I could rebuild this person a decent little house to live on the same place…”
Later on the owner sewed them for building without permissions but in court he felt ashamed after realizing there was nothing wrong with helping the homeless person. He gave up the case and offered himself to pay the person water and light services.”
Besides the cases that have been successful, she has also had cases that the result wasn’t exactly under her control. One case in specific was of a woman that was abused by her father since she was a little girl, with 7 children and an abusive husband. Sylvia took her to a therapist that helped her to be a better mom. Even though she was considering the change, the day of the meeting in court she told Sylvia that she was going to give up her 7 children and start off a new life.
Sylvia has been helping people and working on this law firm since 1979 and since then her job position has been naturally rising to now be the Director of the law firm.
Some people may ask her why isn’t she a judge? Although it’s a higher position, Sylvia, very humble, says she feels like she has always been on the right place at the right time.