Edward Chow: leading through example
“When my staff saw me working so hard, they would say, ‘I have to work too,’ he recalled. “When you are in a leadership position, you must lead by example. You cannot sit back and let somebody else to do it.”
Years of devotion paved the way for Chow to the US Federal government. He was appointed to deputy assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1993.
Chow said many veterans were not aware of their post-war trauma or the benefits they were entitled to and tried to help them out of their predicaments.
One veteran was a Chinese American who told Chow that he could not sleep at night and got sweats. Chow persuaded him to accept counseling, even though he didn’t want to.
Chow was gratified to see the veteran got better under his help.
“A part of leadership is to take care of people who are not able to take care of themselves,” Chow said.
Though Chow retired from the Clinton Administration in 2001, he did not retire from his devotion to veterans and Asian communities.
Chow later became the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America in 2006. Meanwhile, he was also a director at the Asian-Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, and a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars.
In 2009, he was appointed Secretary of the Maryland State Department of Veterans Affairs, the same year he was entering his 70s.
Deeply influenced by his mother, who was elected as a representative of King County in Washington State at the age of 53, Chow likewise loves helping others. That is why he never turns back on requests from Asian communities and veterans’ affairs.
“There are two principles in my family: to love your parents, and to love America,” Chow remembers. Cai Chunying and Liu Xiaoxian in Washington contributed to this story.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs Edward Chow says part of leadership is to take care of people who are not able to take care of themselves.