Paying it forward is something Buomkuoth Thot says he was born to do.

"We’re very proud of what we’re doing for the city," he said. "We’re helping the community. We remodel the houses that are condemned with no one living in it for years, and we’re able to buy it and fix it up."

His latest project has him helping in a big way. He purchased a home on the city’s west side and gifted his tenant the lower half, fully remodeling it at no charge. She needed more space to relocate her daughters from Puerto Rico.

"He says that for his appreciation of me never failing with the rent, always keeping it clean and maintaining the apartment. Well, he did all of this for me. Truthfully, he is the best landlord," said Mylie Del Baya.

Thot came to America at the age of 14, an Ethiopian refugee whose parents sent him to Syracuse alone in hopes of more opportunity for their son. A product of the foster care system, he was recruited as a runner for Buffalo State College, where fate set him on the path for his current career.

"I was actually a tenant for my coach," Thot said. "My coach happened to move out of the city, relocating him and his wife for a job, so he let me stay on his property and manage it for him. I started fixing walls here and there and getting tenants for him and I realized I like this it maybe something I can do."

Over the next seven years, he perfected his craft and formed Gambella Construction. He earned enough to enter start purchasing real estate, putting him in the position to offer someone in need a helping hand.

"I feel like I was lucky, actually, so for me to gift to my tenant, it makes me happy because I realize I was in their position at some point, so why not give back?" Thot said.

Thot said it took months to fully renovate the lower apartment, but says he'd do it again and he’s happy he could help another immigrant reaching for the American dream.

"I'm actually thankful to God and my coach because I have come so far, especially a kid who comes to this country with no family as a refugee, and doing something for himself, I'm very happy and grateful," he said.