The Dallas Morning News

Doctor to discuss journey as refugee

- DEBORAH FLECK dfleck@dallasnews.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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