Doc­tor to dis­cuss jour­ney as refugee

The Dallas Morning News - - STATE - DEB­O­RAH FLECK [email protected]­las­news.com Twit­ter: @deb­biewfleck

Vinh Chung starts his story with these words: “When I was 31⁄2 years old, my fam­ily was forced to flee Viet­nam . ... We ar­rived in the United States with noth­ing but the clothes on our backs and un­able to speak a sin­gle word of English. To­day, my fam­ily holds 22 univer­sity de­grees.”

His book, Where the Wind Leads, tells how his fam­ily, like many other Viet­namese refugee fam­i­lies, over­came hard­ship and found suc­cess. He wrote the book be­cause he was told it was not only a refugee story, but an Amer­i­can story.

“I want peo­ple to know that a sin­gle act of kind­ness can have a last­ing im­pact that car­ries on for gen­er­a­tions,” Chung said.

His fam­ily was res­cued in the South China Sea by a World Vi­sion ship. They ended up in Fort Smith, Ark., where they strug­gled but cher­ished their free­dom.

“Any­one who has ex­pe­ri­enced this type of loss would nat­u­rally be deeply grate­ful for the free­dom and op­por­tu­ni­ties here,” he said. “That is why my 10 sib­lings and I have worked so hard . ... We have grad­u­ated from schools like Har­vard, Yale, Stanford and Ge­orge­town. We are proud Amer­i­cans serv­ing com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try as pro­fes­sion­als.”

Chung, 40, works as a skin can­cer sur­geon in Colorado Springs. He will be in Dal­las for a pro­gram at the Dal­las Mu­seum of Art on World Refugee Aware­ness Day, which is Mon­day. He will give a talk at 7:30 p.m. in Hor­chow Au­di­to­rium. Tick­ets are $15 for stu­dents, $30 for mem­bers and $35 for oth­ers; they in­clude a pa­per­back copy of Chung’s book.

To buy tick­ets, visit dma.org or call 214-922-1818.

Im­mi­grant awards

In cel­e­bra­tion of Im­mi­grant Her­itage Month, the law firm Scheef & Stone LLP pre­sented sev­eral awards Fri­day to local im­mi­grants at a lun­cheon at Pre­ston­wood Coun­try Club. The speaker was Dr. Vis­tasp M. Karb­hari, pres­i­dent of the Univer­sity of Texas at Ar­ling­ton.

At­tor­ney Ann Massey Bad­mus founded the awards pro­gram five years ago to rec­og­nize the con­tri­bu­tions to the area made by im­mi­grants and those who work with them. The pro­gram also presents schol­ar­ships to out­stand­ing im­mi­grant or first-gen­er­a­tion high school se­niors.

The Im­mi­grant En­tre­pre­neur Award went to Dr. An­shul Agar­wal of Red­bird Well­ness, Ami Doshi of Mi­laap USA, Beatriz Manetta of Ar­gent As­so­ciates Inc. and Ali Sa­mana of 1 So­lar So­lu­tion.

Dr. Ger­mán Au­gusto Gu­tiér­rez, di­rec­tor of or­ches­tras at Texas Chris­tian Univer­sity, re­ceived the Pro­fes­sional Ex­cel­lence Award.

The Im­mi­grant Spirit Award was given to Ravi Calyanakoti of AT&T and Sina Sa­bet Sar­ves­tani, a teacher and youth men­tor.

Dr. Michele Bobadilla, founder of Univer­sity Cross­roads, which is based at UTA, and Leah Sey­oum-Fesfa, a nurse and founder of Reach­ing East African Chil­dren and Fam­i­lies, re­ceived the Im­mi­grant Ad­vo­cate Award.

Amer­i­can Dream Schol­ar­ships went to Mon­ica Car­ba­jal of Con­rad High, Sa­muel Bau­com of Dun­canville High and Sui Pen Tial of Lake High­lands High.

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