I’m one of eight children with Lebanese Mexican descent who was born in Mexico City. My parents came to the United States as illegal immigrants when I was very, very young. When I was 7 years old, we moved back to Mexico, where I got my first job shining shoes. I used to charge 20 cents for a shoe shine. I would give 10 cents to my parents and I would keep 10 cents for me because what I wanted was a guitar. I saved up my money 10 cents at a time and I bought my guitar for $30 dollars when I was 8 years old. I used to follow the adults in the neighborhood while they played their guitars as they serenaded the ladies; and I would learn how to play the guitar by watching them play it; I learned how to strum and play chords. The first song that I learned was a song called “Amigo” by Roberto Carlos, a very famous Brazilian singer/song-writer. This is a song that was dedicated to Juan Pablo II, the Pope at the time, every time he visited Mexico. It goes something like this: Tu eres mi hermano del alma, realmente el amigo. Que en cada jornada estas siempre conmigo.
What that means for those of you who don’t know Spanish is, “You’re my soul brother, my real friend, in every journey, you’re always with me. That was the 1st song I ever learned to play on the guitar.
Now, when I was in JR. High School, we move back to the United States. That’s where a few years later, I met Luis Molina. Luis Molina was my hero. He was a man who was born in America but his parents were Colombian immigrants. He joined the US Navy and became a Navy Seal. I love the Navy Seals! I‘ve always respected and admired the Navy Seals because they don’t just help each other, they don’t just fight battles, they protect the whole country with their elite skills. They’re out there putting their lives on the line to protect America and that’s what I wanted to do. That’s why as soon as I could, I signed up and joined the military because I wanted to be a Navy Seal like my hero. He was my sister’s husband. Luis Molina, the Navy Seal. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet specific requirements to get in and I became a hospital corpsman, Anesthesia technician, working at the Naval Hospital. In this way, I was able to serve my country and people through my military service.
This takes me to a point where I need to really fast forward into my more adult life. I was living in my house and my house got damaged by a storm. I called the insurance company who sent their adjuster. This man just smiled at me, looked at the damage, and smiled again and he says “I’m very sorry Rick, but we can’t write you a check because your deductible is more than the damage.” I was very upset because I didn’t know how I was going to fix my house. I called up a friend who is a contractor. He came out and looked at it and we called for a 2nd inspection. The inspector/adjuster came out again; this time it was a different guy. He also denied the claim! Lucky for me, my friend who was the contractor, had an attorney who was used to dealing with these type of shenanigans. And the long short, after 2 years, the insurance company paid for the complete reconstruction of my roof. And I said to myself, you know what, I’d like to help people like that.
That’s why I told you about that song, you know, my job, my work, my everyday is to be your friend. I’m a general contractor. I specialize in repairing storm damage. My passion is to help people get the insurance to pay for storm damage, fire damage and other covered perils. For example, people don’t know that even though the pipes bursting may not be covered, the damage that the flowing water causes, can often be covered by the insurance. We don’t speak to the insurance about policy coverage. But we do go over damages and scope of work with them. That’s just one of the many things.
My whole goal is to be your “Amigo”. Your “Amigo” the storm restoration contractor. It’s an honor to be able to share my story here today.