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Rubén Luna’s story will put you in a good mood. It is one of hard work, perseverance, success and service.
Luna, who is an American businessman today, was born in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. He was one of twelve children, and his family was so poor that when he was a boy, he couldn’t go to his grandfather’s funeral because he didn’t have a shirt to wear.
Luna and his family emigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old. Today, he’s one of the most successful businessmen in New York, and a representative of the Dominican Republic abroad, having been elected by the immigrant community to be their representative in the Dominican Congress.
Luna is a philanthropist who always gives back to his community. One of his projects is the Casa del Dominicano en el Exterior (“Home for Dominicans Abroad”), a social service agency that serves Dominicans who have migrated to the New York metropolitan area. He is also a provider of food distribution in emergencies and catastrophes, supporting SOMOS Community Care’s relief efforts.
His story is the American dream come true. But his dream is still not totally fulfilled: his goal is to be able to help the poorest of the poor. Luna is a person with a positive, hard-working and persistent approach, who believes in the value of effort and of dreams. He remembers his own humble beginnings and is grateful for the “blessed” life he now leads.
“I’m thankful even for the air I breathe, because I had nothing; I come from a family that was humble and poor, but rich in love. Today, thank God, with effort and God’s blessing, we’ve been able to improve our financial situation, and the entire family has been blessed. I feel very, very happy.”
“Mom had a corner store, and at the age of six I was already helping her there in the Dominican Republic, and that’s where I learned about business,” Luna remembers. From there, he moved on to being a packer at a supermarket in upper Manhattan. Over the years, without resting even on Saturdays or Sundays, he saved up and became a shareholder and eventually owner of a supermarket chain.
“I’m really thankful that my mom taught me to work and to appreciate what you earn with hard work,” he explains.
For him, it’s vital to keep your feet on the ground: “We always hold on to the humility of never forgetting where we come from, but always trying to do better and better each day.”
“I was born into the Catholic Church, and I feel great admiration for it; I’m a faithful believer,” he says.
Luna received an award this year as Outstanding Latino Immigrant Abroad, and received a special award from the United Nations and its project for Latin American women, “Women Together.”
For more information, please visit: www.somoscommunitycare.org/