Chasing the American Dream
Only a few individual Filipino immigrants in the country can probably equal the extent, magnitude, and socioeconomic impact of the philanthropic work Rene Medina has started and sustains to this day in the United States and in the Philippines
Whiles Rene’s philanthropy has evolved from his success as a U.S. based entrepreneur and businessman, his generosity is legendary by most accounts is rooted, however, in the life of meagerness he led as a poor farmers son in the Philippines. It was there, in his country of birth, that he first learned how to work hard as an office messenger for day-to-day survival and for paying his way in to night school.
Yet Rene still considered himself very lucky then. Every time he visited his hometown of Arayat, Pampanga (50 miles north of Manila), he would be awed by the sight of human deprivation and abject poverty.
Many youths were kept out of school for sheer lack of transportation of lunch money. Although they had the means, few schools offered a good learning environment as most of there have inadequate facilities and were in a state of disrepair.
The problem of funding insufficiency was not confined to schools, however. While growing up in Pampanga province before venturing into the metropolis, Rene noted that the very institution to which townsfolk turn for solace in the face of hardships was likewise in need of revitalization. Crumbling and crowded churches, he thought, did not sit well with their assigned function of offering peace and comfort.
He landed his first job in the United States of America as an office printing clerk at the US Attorneys Office in San Francisco. There he soon became known as a bashful but extremely hard-working employee who met impossible deadlines on printing the lawyers appellate briefs.
One Saturday in 1973, he decided to gibe himself a break and took his wife Mila Reyes on a bus tour to Reno, Nevada. It was a trip that would change his life forever. Lucky Tours Inc. thus born.
Lucky Tours Inc.
Lucky Tours purchased its first bus in 1981. Behind the wheels of a reconditioned and repainted Greyhound unit, was Rene-the first drivers of Lucky tours. By 1988, having built a credible reputation in the business, Lucky Tours became known as Bay Areas biggest operator to Reno. Today, Lucky Tours operates a fleet of twenty five(25) deluxe buses and maintains nine (9) offices around the Bay Area. Lucky Tours further expanded its business operation to include overseas air travel to major cities in Asia.
Lucky Money Inc.
Rene’s business acumen could only get sharper and his luck even better. In 1991, through the encouragement of a banker-friend visiting the Philippines, he established Lucky Money-a currency remittance company. Rene obtained the license to operate the company only after passing the exhaustive background investigation and rigorous test of financial stability and integrity as required by California Department of Financial Institution.
Lucky Money, with over 200 employees of diverse ethnicity is considered today as one of the biggest remittance service companies in the United States catering to ethnic communities. It maintains around 100 offices and agents in America, Philippines and offshore branches in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, Cambodia, and Guam.
Lucky Chances Casino
With both Lucky Tours and Lucky Money firmly anchored on profitable ground, Rene was now ready to pursue an ambition he first conceived his early days as a casino bus tour operator; to own and operate a casino. His plan of establishing a casino in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Colma was met with fierce resistance, mainly from Casino owners Northern California. Rene hurdled all the challenges put in his way to prevent him from living his dream
In 1998, his dream came true! Lucky Chances Casino began its operations in Colma, thus opening a new chapter if the success story of an immigrant who came to the United Stated with only $100.
As soon as Rene determined that Lucky Chances Casino was well on the path of profitability, he set himself upon the task of giving back to his community and to the motherland for teaching him the value of hard work.
The progressive little town of Colma has been a major Bay Area beneficiary of the operational existence of Lucky Chances Casino, enhancing the town’s motto: “Its great to be alive in Colma!” – “Its great to be living in Colma!”
He lives up to his strong desire of sharing his hard-earned fortune to the deserving and disadvantaged in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. As Rene would quip; “It is the least I can do for a community that allowed me – a driven Filipino to chase the American Dream”