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Home | DALLAS / FORT WORTH | Spotlight | Spotlight - Raul Sandoval, Sandoval Rock and Concrete, Granbury, TX

Spotlight - Raul Sandoval, Sandoval Rock and Concrete, Granbury, TX

image L-R: Raul Sandoval is grateful to his brother, Alberto, who gave him a second chance at both life and business.

DALLAS/FT WORTH - For Raul Sandoval, life-threatening illness is what happened to him when he was making other plans. The ink was barely dry on the bank paperwork for his new business, Sandoval Rock and Concrete, when a doctor told him he was sick, and that his chances of survival weren’t high.





    For Raul Sandoval, life-threatening illness is what happened to him when he was making other plans. The ink was barely dry on the bank paperwork for his new business, Sandoval Rock and Concrete, when a doctor told him he was sick, and that his chances of survival weren’t high.
    Although Sandoval did have to initially surrender his business for a bit, he didn’t surrender to his prognosis. Eleven years later, both he and his rock and concrete business are thriving, and he believes he was spared to answer a higher calling.

Share a little about your background.

    I’m from Mexico City, Mexico. I came here to America in 1988 with my brother-in-law. I first worked for a man and cut wood, and then I worked for another man who did rock and concrete, and [the latter] sold me the business in 2006, which I bought with the help of a bank.
    At the same time I bought the business, I was diagnosed with leukemia. I have seven brothers, who all tested to see if they were a match for a bone marrow transplant. Six matched about 40% or 50% but one of my brothers, Alberto, was a 100% match even though we are not twins, which is extremely rare. Even with a perfect match, the doctor gave me a 20% chance to live.

How did you face that kind of news?
    You know what? I never thought I was going to die. I always thought, I can do this.
    I had seven straight days of chemo, and I felt really bad. I lost all of my hair – which is why it is not gray now, it’s brand new! I lost all of my nails; they grew back, but they are different now, with ridges. My mouth lost all ability to taste food for six months, but that came back too, thank goodness! But I feel that God gives us our bodies to be prepared to die, and I’m not afraid to die. All of those details happened, but I couldn’t get down about it. I could still live.
    By that time, I was here in America and Alberto was in Mexico. He came here and stayed for three months so that he could donate his bone marrow to me and I could get the transplant in Houston.

What did you experience after the bone marrow transplant? Did your health immediately improve, or did it take a while?

    After the transplant, I had pneumonia twice in the hospital. I felt really bad, but my bone marrow transplant was working really well.
    During that time, I made three friends on the same floor of the hospital, and I wondered how they could laugh and eat everything and I couldn’t; I looked like the worst transplant patient on the floor. In the end, I was the only one who [survived], and that is because my transplant was working well. I am really blessed.

How did your diagnosis and treatment impact your new business?
    The transplant and treatment was very expensive, it was $1 million. There was a program that helped me pay those medical bills, but I had to file bankruptcy so that the bank could have the money back that I borrowed for the business. It took me six months after the transplant to physically recover. I then restarted the business, but from scratch this time, without any money or credit.

How did you do that?

    Well, it was hard. When I bought the business, I had new trucks, new every-thing. When I came back, since I had no credit, I had to really start over. Just like when I first came to this country, I had to start again.
    I really like being in construction. I like to see things that weren’t there before. I do this now with my brother Alberto and about eight other people. We do about 80% rock and 20% concrete. Business has been good; we always have a job!

How is your health now?
    Everything is fine. I had to go back after five years for a check up, but I am “normal” now. Once you are in remission, your chances of a recurrence are the same as anyone who hasn’t had leukemia. I feel really good. I have gained 30 pounds though …

I think you should keep every pound! How has surviving leukemia changed your life?
    I have nearly died four or five other times actually; once was when I was driving a truck full of rock for my old boss, down a hill, and the brakes failed! But God has always spared me. I can now see how God protected me from dying, how He had a plan for me.

What was God’s plan for you?
    I have been a Christian all of my life. About five years ago, God called me to be a pastor. I am now a pastor of a Hispanic church that I started, Iglesia Christiana Nuevo Vino, also known as the “New Wine Christian Church.” Right now, we have about 140 attending the church.
    When I came to America, I had plans and a vision to prosper and to work, to have a better life than I did in Mexico. Now I can see that God had a better plan, he sent me to this country to share the gospel so that people can learn about Jesus.

Do you have any other messages you wish to share with others?

    It’s also important for me to tell other Hispanics that we can be everything we want to be when we respect and love God. We come from Mexico and we have our own goals, we’re hard workers and we concentrate on work, but we sometimes forget about God. That’s the main thing; if you find God, He can give you everything you want.
    I also want to say that you can have all of the money and power, but you have to really be looking for and loving God. God is really the reason. People may think you’re blessed because you have a new car or new truck, but that’s money, it’s not important. Family and health, that is important.

You would know the significance of that better than most. Tell me about your family.

    I have been married to my wife Blanca for 30 years. I have six kids; one is married with a child, so I am a grandfather.

Do you think any of your children will join the rock and concrete business?

    It could happen, but really, they are in college right now, and I prefer not to put [an expectation of a career in] construction on my kids. If it happens, they know what to do.

What do you like to do for fun in your free time?
    I like horses; I have seven. Three have names – King, Leo and Summer – and I am still making up names for the other four. I keep them at my place in Granbury. All of my kids ride horses.
    I’m crazy! I like everything that is exciting. I like to race motorcycles and I like sports cars. I like everything that goes fast.

So you cheated death and you continue to cheat it! What are your professional plans for the future?

    I’m always learning about details (in my work), so even though I am getting old, I am getting better. That’s my plan, to get better!
    Sandoval Rock and Concrete is a subcontractor located in Granbury. –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net