SAN LUIS VALLEY — Travis Steffens, a graduate and local resident of the San Luis Valley was recently recognized for his efforts to help change the lives of homeless U.S. citizens and veterans across the nation by President Donald Trump during his State of the Union Address last week.
Steffens graduated from Sargent School District in 1997 and has since grown a unique nonprofit company known as R Investments and R Academy. According to information provided by his mother and local resident Kris Steffens, the company is well on its way to changing the lives of thousands and is continuing to grow every day.
According to information provided through several sources and including the R Investments website, “R Investments is the parent company of the R Enterprise family of companies and is the “engine” that acquires real estate assets for rehabilitation, transformation and stabilization by our subsidiaries. We work with private investors and banks to create superior rates of return in short and long term investment horizons. We leverage “Opportunity Zone” legislation to maximize long term financial results for our partners. R Investments is focused on the full cycle of wealth generation through each step of the process — planning, development, construction, rehabilitation, leasing, property management and brokerage.”
R Investments is the parent company to R Academy which is the organization recognized by President Trump during his address. “We provide the opportunity for the homeless, living on the streets and in shelters, to become part of the R family of companies. Through our proven process of housing, tools, training and loving accountability, we provide a solid and safe foundation for everyone to regain their footing, find significance and become a productive member of society again. Each person is intensely trained in all core construction trades and then employed by R Restoration to provide quality low income housing for R Country.”
One success story from R Academy focuses on one man’s journey from rags to riches. Tony Rankins from Cincinnati, Ohio was a special guest for the State of the Union Address and his story has made headlines.
According to his online bio, Tony Rankins was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1964. From an early age, Tony was separated from his family and eventually ended up in full-time foster care. Though he was never formally adopted, he spent ages 8-18 with the same foster mother who he says raised him the best she could. After graduating high school, Tony joined the military, completing one tour with the Army in Afghanistan. Upon completing his first tour, Tony decided not to re-enlist as the post-traumatic stress that he continues to fight today, was just too much for him.
Tony was married at age 29 to the love of his life. However, due to the nature of his flashbacks, he quickly turned to drugs as a way to numb himself from his military experiences. His drug abuse, and his struggle with addiction, made it difficult for him to keep a steady job and to eventually be separated from his wife. After several stints in prison, his longest sentence being 18 months, Tony wanted to change however his addiction was just too much. Tony found himself jobless, separated from his wife and living out of his car. While living in his car, he came across a construction project in Nashville, Tennessee. This project happened to be one of R Investments projects. That was almost two years ago. Since joining the R Investments family, Tony has been trained in several construction trades including carpentry, framing, brickwork and painting. He is now currently living in an apartment, located in an opportunity zone, he is off drugs completely and he is back with his wife. Tony states that the only reason that he has been able to keep his job, stay off drugs and stay with his wife is because of the “support, brotherhood and training” that R Investments has been able to provide. Tony is currently working on a project located in Cincinnati, Ohio in an opportunity zone and will continue and will work on another project in Cincinnati, Ohio
Steffens has now been appointed to the Opportunity NOW panel and spoke during the meeting held by President Trump in Charlotte, North Carolina which focused on the Opportunity Zone. Rankins is only one of many success stories that are growing exponentially everyday through the efforts of R Investments and R Academy.