Krishendeo (Kris) Ramsingh was born in 1972 in the Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago. Though he is of Indian descent, he seemed destined for America from a very young age. Even as early as seven years old, Kris wanted to join the U.S. Navy. He loved the American people, and wanted the American dream. Young Kris, however, would have to wait.
As the years passed, Kris worked in boat-building, doing fiberglass and upholstery. Though he was making a life in a place many Americans would consider paradise, he never lost his passion for the United States. Then one day in 1996, a Christian missionary named Linda Anderson entered his life. Linda had left America behind with no plans to return, yet she would eventually marry a man who wanted nothing more than to be an American. Kris and Linda married the same year they met. Though Kris had been raised in the Hindu tradition, he converted to Christianity, and the two of them spent the next ten years together in Trinidad and Tobago. It wasn’t until 2006 that they left the Caribbean and headed for the place Kris longed to call home.
With no more than three hundred dollars in his pocket, Kris and his wife moved to Roanoke. With a strong work ethic, he quickly found employment working on a boat for a friend of Linda’s. He then worked in upholstery with Rowe Furniture for three years. He was a legal resident alien at that time, which meant he was able to work and pay taxes.
Kris says he thought of moving away several times, but something always kept him here. Eventually, with only seven hundred fifty dollars, he grabbed one more slice of the American dream. He opened his own business: Dominion Custom Upholstery on Williamson Road.
Today, Kris’ business is a success, with a clientele that includes many of the area’s more affluent citizens. He has a home and he has a family. He had the American dream he’d always wanted growing up. But it wasn’t enough. Kris has so much love for America within him he wanted to become involved in the clockwork that makes America tick.
In late 2011, Kris became involved with politics on a local level, in association with the Republican Party. He began attending meetings, as well as helping with functions and elections. He was meeting people and doing his part in an organization that shares his values and the goal of smaller government. Kris said he believes strongly that working hard and achieving on one’s own merit is the only way. He believes people shouldn’t expect the government to do everything for them. He believes that the American dream is a job that we must all continue working on. It is a goal to strive for, and not a handout.
But even getting involved in politics was not enough. To Kris, the American dream equals everything, including being an American. He wanted to begin the process of naturalization earlier, but it does cost, and something always seemed to come up that delayed the beginning of the final step in his journey. In October 2014, however, there were no more obstacles. His business was successful enough to allow him to begin.
Kris said the only part of the process that caused him any distress was the final test. Like any student before a test, he experienced fear about how well he would do. Unlike a student in class, however, the stakes of failure were much higher. After learning more American history than most adult Americans remember throughout their lives, he passed, and on October 23, 2015, Kris Ramsingh became an American citizen. It was a very proud day for him, as well as for his family and friends. When asked if he thought naturalization was important for all immigrants, Kris replied, “Out of respect for this country, everyone who wants to come to live in America should go through this process.”
Today, Kris Ramsingh provides an example when talking about the American dream. He didn’t have much money, and had no “in” connections. He didn’t have formal higher education. What he did have was a willingness to work hard and to learn skills. He had a clear understanding of what it means to achieve, and he understood how to prioritize. In a country that has always prided itself on being a land of opportunity where anyone can become what they want, this man has shown it can be done with hard work and sacrifice.
Dominion Custom Upholstery
2914 Williamson Road NW
Roanoke, VA 24012