A ‘Renaissance Man’
remembering Enrique Lalut
September 30, 2015—Luis Enrique Lalut Miranda, a second–generation Salvationist and a former officer, was promoted to Glory after a 30–year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. He played a decisive role in the development of Spanish language publications in the USA Eastern Territory and in the Americas.
On October 14 in Lancaster, Pa., several of Lalut’s sessionmates from the Defenders of Faith session held a memorial service as part of their 50th session reunion.
Major Ed Forster, in speaking of Lalut at the service, called him a “Renaissance Man” who loved music, art, and culture. Forster said that Lalut also enjoyed countless literary endeavors, particularly on behalf of the Hispanic community. “At the training college in the 60’s, I worked with Enrique on the Cadet Gazette, a literary project. Later in Puerto Rico, he created Caminos da Vita, a Spanish language magazine, and I wrote for him,” Forster said.
Major Chester (Chet) Emmons, who worked with Lalut when Emmons was in charge of the Hispanic Bureau at Territorial Headquarters (THQ), led the memorial service. Emmons described Lalut as a “visionary.” Emmons recalled how, each Christmas, Lalut took hundreds of toys to the South American nation of Chile to give to children of Salvation Army officers. Emmons, who had served in that part of the world for 17 years, said, “His publications had a great impact throughout South America.”
Raul Gomez, a dear friend of Lalut, said, “Enrique was always wanting to go and do things for others.” Gomez, who had lived with Lalut following his debilitation from Parkinson’s disease, continued, “He didn’t let his illness stop him. Sometimes, I tried to stop him, but he would always say, ‘Let’s go, they need us!’”
Major Marie Lopez, assistant corps officer in Reading, Pa., also attended the memorial service. “I would not be a Salvation Army officer today if it wasn’t for Enrique Lalut,” she said. “In the Sunday school class he taught in Elizabeth, N.J., he challenged me to follow God’s will for my life and not to settle for anything less.”
Major William Groff, a former head of THQ’s Mission & Culture Department, led a testimonial period at the memorial service. He extolled how Lalut showed energy, drive, and creativity on behalf of the Hispanic community.
Commissioner James M. Knaggs, the territorial commander for the USA Western Territory and a former chief secretary in the East, declared Lalut’s promotion to Glory “An end of an era.”
Marisol Lalut, Enrique’s daughter, will continue his legacy as head of Hispanic Word, the company he established with Brenda Lotz, family member and colleague.
by Major Edward Forster