Zaher El-Ali (who goes by “Ali”) has lived in Houston since the 1970s. He arrived in Houston on a Greyhound bus in 1978 with $500 in his pocket, knowing no one. He graduated with a degree in business from the University of Houston in 1984 and spent about 10 years in the insurance business. He became an American citizen in 1987. He started a family and had three sons. Two of his children are in school while the oldest is a medic in the U.S. Army.