In a nutshell
My name is Humberto but my friends and family call me “Beto”. I am an Emmy award winning Journalist and Producer with 13 years of experience in the media. I host the Overcome Podcast and Overcome TV series on Youtube. My life mission is to help others by sharing my experiences in overcoming adversity and living a fulfilling life.
I founded the Gurmilan Foundation to help young people with disabilities become empowered and reach their full potential. I teach broadcasting at San Diego City College and often speak in the community to promote disability awareness and overall spread a positive message of hope and positivism.
The Early Days
I was born in Chula Vista, California on November 28th, 1978, and I’m the first of three siblings. My father, Humberto Sr., a dentist, had his practice downtown Tijuana which is where along with my mother Rosa they started our family. Back then Tijuana had a small town feel but was still as diverse and colorful as it is today. Our first home was a small yellow wooden house about a mile south of the US-Mexico border and very close to my father’s office.
From a young age, I was interested in sports and my father introduced me to baseball which sparked a further love for other sports. I started playing in toddler leagues and eventually grew my passion for competitive sports In general. I was very active and played all sorts of sports and enjoyed the alternative activities as well like skateboarding and riding my bike. In school, I was a very good student, always a playful one, but would get my work done and always strived for the best grades.
Passion for the Ocean
In 1989 we moved from downtown Tijuana to Playas de Tijuana, a community right on the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean and on the most northwesterly tip of México. We literally lived just walking distance from the border fence and a few steps from the ocean. This move changed our lives and for me, it changed the way I viewed sports. I immediately made new friends and eventually fell in love with the ocean and surfing.
I soon started to play less organized sports and dedicated time to the ocean and surfing every day. It became a way of life and a means to be one with nature. I loved being out among the waves and enjoyed every moment I spent in the water because it allowed me to relax, meditate, hang out with friends and above all have fun practicing a fun sport. I never wanted to be a professional surfer or anything like that but I was extremely passionate about the ocean and the sport.
One faithful autumn morning in Playas de Tijuana I went out surfing like every other day with the usual friends. It was a clear day with medium to large waves, but nothing that I had not seen before. Right before it was time to head in and call it a day I rode my last wave as I dove off my board and hit the bottom of the ocean head first breaking my neck and immediately becoming paralyzed from my chest down. I was fortunate that my friend Pablo was there to rescue me and that there were other surfers that aided in the rescue. (More details in my book From My Chair.)
September 30th of 1994 is the day I sustained a serious spinal cord injury and it derailed a lot of our plans as a family and forced us to start again from scratch. In a second, my life and that of my family changed dramatically. It felt as if it was complete upside down and many changes came quickly. That day, after the accident I was transported to Mercy Hospital in San Diego where I started my recovery and eventually my rehabilitation at Sharp Rehabilitation Hospital. Needless to say, it was a tough and challenging first few months but eventually I went home and started my new life in San Diego along with my family.
Back on Track
Throughout those first years, I adapted to my new life and thanks to my family and friends I continued to pursue my dreams. I finished High School at Montgomery High in 1997 and then transferred to Southwestern College where I received my first degree, an A.A. in Journalism. I eventually I transferred to San Diego Sate University where I graduated with a B.A. in Communication.
My first “real job” was working for Sharp Healthcare as a speaker for an injury and violence prevention program in San Diego, but after I got out of college I went out looking for work in my field and eventually landed an internship with Univision and Telemundo that led to my current profession. A few years later received a Masters Degree in Communication and wrote my first book titled “From My Chair” and “Desde Mi Silla” in Spanish.
Follow my Journey
Today, I have accomplished many of my goals and working in Television is one of them. I am the Sports Anchor for Telemundo 33 in San Diego and I also teach Communication courses at San Diego City College. I publish frequently on this website and also Hacks Motivacionales, I also founded The Gurmilan Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities in San Diego and Tijuana.
Please feel free to browse through this website. I would be glad to visit your organization or community to speak about my experience. It is my mission to share what I have learned trough these past 22 years so that others can learn from my experience and make positive changes in their lives.