I am a man that likes to see results from my humanitarian efforts. I often make a project of personal charities because, while I donate financially to many charitable organizations, I find that giving of myself and my time personally is more rewarding. My advisors have told me that I’ve made a mistake by not publicizing my philanthropic efforts. My motivation for helping people is not for publicity. I help people because I care. One example of a personal charitable effort is the story of Eyder Ruch. I will let Eyder tell you the story in his own words.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I would like to share the history of a family of Cuban immigrants who arrived to this land of freedom not by pure luck, but by the blessed hands of a man called Joe Francis. In 2001, my family won the visa lottery offered by the Interest Section of the United States Embassy in Cuba. After completing the necessary requirements requested by both governments, we reported for an interview to the office mentioned above.
Though we fulfilled the necessary requirements for passage to America, an official assigned to our case demanded an affidavit of support from an American citizen. Because we had two minor children, but no relatives in the states, the official determined that we might become a financial burden for the US government. This determination felt both arbitrary and absurd to us, as there are many humanitarian institutions in America that offer a hand to those in need of financial assistance. Because we had no contacts in America who could provide an affidavit of support, the demand for such an affidavit was as good as an outright rejection of our visa application. My family would have been condemned to remaining in Cuba, living as slaves to communism under strict and constant surveillance. In addition, my teenage son was about to turn 15, at which point he would be required to report for active military duty. With a son in the military, our family would have been denied a visa for years, unless and until the Prime Minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces was willing to grant us permission to leave the country.
As my family and I were worrying over this difficult situation, I was very lucky to meet Peter Sanchez, who was visiting Cuba as a travel agent for a tour company. I told Peter about the problem my family was facing and asked if he knew anyone in America who might be willing to help us. It seems that God listened to our prayers, because several months later Peter reported that he had found such a person. That incredible person was Joe Francis, a businessman from California who not only sent to the US Embassy a substantial affidavit of support in our behalf, but fully paid for all our traveling expenses to America. On our arrival to this land of freedom and democracy, we were shocked to see a limousine waiting for us at the airport to drive our family to a hotel, which Mr. Francis had fully paid for 17 days. The next day, Mr. Francis invited us to his office, where we met him for the first time. We could not thank him enough for what he had offered to my family, but he was only happy to see that my family was together and safe in America. At the end of our hotel stay, we were driven to our own apartment, which Joe has personally found for us and paid the rent in advance. The apartment, located in a very nice neighborhood, was equipped with everything that our family could want, including furniture, groceries and a telephone. There was even a PlayStation for our children — the first gift they received in this land of liberty, which they still keep with immense gratitude. Mr. Francis bought me my own car and cell phone, enrolled my wife and I into English classes and regularly came to check on our family personally. Another big surprise came when we were told that Mr. Francis hired me to work for his company.
Joe Francis acted with infinite humanity toward my family. Since we’ve come to America, our eldest son Randy graduated with honors from the University High School in Los Angeles and is finishing his second year of college in Houston, Texas. He is majoring in computer technology, with the dream of one day working with NASA. What Joe Francis did for our family, before he had even met us, was an incredible act of love and kindness that we will appreciate for the rest of our lives. He has earned a very privileged place in our hearts and we ask our Lord to continue giving him health and the capacity to continue helping others who, like us, are striving to achieve the American dream.
May God bless him and his loved ones forever.
- Eyder Ruch
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