Edwin Reyes, who likes to be called by his full name (not Ed) was born and raised in Chicago. His family was quite large and his mom was a single parent who worked in a hospital. Edwin ended up spending quite a bit of his youth living at his grandparent’s house and though there was no necessity, they encouraged him to work from the day he moved in. One of his first jobs was as a shoe shine boy on Division Street. When asked if he liked doing that, Edwin will tell you, “It instilled a work ethic in me that I’ll never forget.” That sums up Edwin perfectly – if you add his cool sense of humor and welcoming nature to the mix.
By the time Edwin reached high school he had worked at a printing company, in a hospital and for the Chicago Transit Authority. He also served as a limousine driver for various celebrities. He didn’t always like standing around holding a sign with somebody’s name on it that he had never met, but when he was charged with picking Elle McPherson up at an airport, she greeted him with, “Hi, how ya doin’?” – as if she had known him her whole life. Edwin was thrilled. He loves to tell stories of his early adventures to his friends and colleagues. “You need a good laugh once in a while,” he says, and he provides it.
Another job, however, was to shape Edwin’s future forever, and that was when he began working with a community organization called BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement and Leadership Development). His role for this company involved organizing athletic events (basketball in winter, softball in summer) for street gangs. Edwin loved the job so much that he became determined to pursue a career in social-work.
Edwin then went to college and pursued a career that matched that goal, but after five years, he decided he wanted more. His older sister happened to be a lawyer and he figured, “Well, if she could do it so could I.” Right he was. He attended law school in Boston, but could not stay away from the family that had taught him so much. He returned to Chicago and worked hard to unite his passion for helping others with his new knowledge. In the process, he became a founding member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association. To this day he is active in the organization that mentors high school and law students and raises money for the Latino community.
However, Edwin has had to cut back a bit on his volunteer activities over the past decade or so. His wife and two daughters, aged 9 and 11 are now his top priorities. Though Edwin puts in 60 hour work weeks (“I don’t keep track of my hours. It’s a habit to work a lot,” he matter-of-factly states), he loves spending his spare time with his daughters. He takes them to sporting events, the YMCA Princess program, and daddy-daughter dances.
The whole family enjoys going to the lake, swimming, or taking nice long bicycle rides. Edwin also loves to watch and attend sporting events and occasionally watches TV, Game of Thrones and Mad Men being amongst his favorites. Although often soft spoken, Edwin is at his best once he gets to know people. That is why he loves his job so much. He will often go into the office on weekends, perhaps donning a sports jersey, just so he can be in contact with those who don’t have a lot of time to work with him during the week. He may be sitting there dressed in bright colors, and not look at all like what you would expect of an attorney. Yet, he is always thinking about what more he can do, and how he can do it so that everyone around him has some fun.