Editor’s Note: Dr. Nhung Tran, together with her husband and two children, fled Vietnam as refugees in 1975. Two and a half years ago she relocated to St. Louis to be near one of her adult children. Here is her story.
I am a retired physician. In 1975 I came to the USA from Vietnam as a refugee with an MD degree. Nevertheless, I had to work really hard to pass the USA medical board exams before I was able to practice here. This included three years of residency, which took us to Chicago from our first home in Opalika, Alabama.
During the early years, our family was sponsored by a Christian family who provided us with much encouragement and assistance, and with whom I remain in touch. After completing my residency and becoming an MD in pediatrics, I moved with my husband (also an MD, but now deceased) and our children to Pittsburg, where my husband and I practiced medicine for 20 years. From there we moved to Orlando, FL, where we practiced for another 20 years. After the death of my husband, our children – two of whom are MDs and the other an entrepreneur – insisted that I come to live near one of them.
I became acquainted with CFNA through my son, who met Dr. Buckman one day as he was carrying out trash at the Peace Center. Our donation of home furnishings (we were then in the process of moving) was the link that put me in touch with this organization.
Since I knew from experience the hardship of settling in a new environment, and after coming to know the mission and purpose of CFNA, I offered my services as a volunteer. Mostly, I assist with the Health and Wellness Screenings offered regularly at the Peace Center, but I also assist with the weekly After School Tutoring program and the Trivia auction, as well as participate in Heart to Heart Sisters.
I very much enjoy the work, as well as serving with the friendly CFNA volunteers. Seeing these children mastering English and growing up in a safer environment than what they had experienced in their home countries is my reward. For me, this provides a true sense of fulfillment.