After 40 years of dedicated public service, that turned out to be a tall request just begging to be ignored, especially since The Telesca Center for Justice houses LawNY, The Legal Aid Society, Empire Justice, Volunteer Legal Services Project, and the Monroe County Bar Association.
“Lou asked us not to have an event like this,” explained LawNY Executive Director Ken Perri at the
gathering of more than 100 colleagues, friends, family, and former LawNY employees. “Since we chose to ignore that request, we’ll make this mostly a social evening, with just a short program.”
Current LawNY Managing Attorney Lori O’Brien was in contact with Lou’s wife (Sara Baughan) to make sure the guest of honor would be at the Memorial Art Gallery on the designated evening. As an added surprise,all three of Sara and Lou’s children flew from three different locations to be at the event.
Louis Prieto is the son of Cuban immigrants. He grew up in a rough and tumble neighborhood in upper Manhattan’s West Harlem, worked his way through college and law school, starting his legal career defending criminals and proactively seeking sentencing alternatives via help from social agencies.
His years of experience in The Legal Aid Society’s civil division in Bronx County included grant proposal writing and community outreach, giving him a tremendous skill set by the time he reached Rochester in 1991 to work at MCLAC.
At the January 22 event, Perri noted, “Lou has broken into funding stream after funding stream, allowing the Rochester office to grow and expand its programs.”
U.S. Marine Reserve Officer and attorney Kevin Saunders talked about Lou’s success in getting funding and in-kind services for a remarkable first-ever Valor Day Rochester last June 13.
Lou’s dedication to veterans reaches far beyond his contributions to Valor Day, where approximately 200 active and reserve military personnel were served.
“He’s been in the trenches, providing legal services through the Veterans Outreach Center in Rochester, with permanent office space in our facility,” said Jocene Henderson, director of operations at VOC.
The Veterans Outreach Center honored Prieto with a folded U.S. flag in a shadow box – the ultimate sign of respect.