I had a lovely visit with Fong Nham and his girlfriend, Kelly Luc, who drove all the way from Rosemead, CA to see me today. I worked with Fong two years ago on his applications to medical school and with Kelly this past year on her application to Physician Assistant school. They were kind enough to bring gifts from the Asian market where Fong’s dad works: fresh avocados, golden kiwis from New Zealand and yellow Philippine-style noodles. Fong has just completed his first year at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Miami International University and Kelly will begin her PA training at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, CA in August. I was very pleased to see both of them.
Fong and Kelly’s parents fled to the United States during the 1990s, seeking political asylum from the brutal Communist regime in Vietnam. They had little education but came with hopes for a peaceful life in a country where their children could have a real future. Both sets of parents have worked hard to create a life where their children could feel safe and supported. They have also encouraged them to aim high in their educational goals.
Fong and Kelly represent the true American dream. They have studied hard, stayed focused and are now eager to give back to the country which has offered them opportunities they could have never had back in Vietnam. They both hope to work with underserved populations and will bring sensitivity and compassion to the patients who are fortunate enough to have them as caregivers.
These two young people, children of immigrants who were fleeing political oppression, represent America at her best. They demonstrate what can happen when our country operates from the words inscribed on the Statue of Liberty:
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Congratulations to you, Fong, on the completion of your first year of medical school and to you, Kelly, on your acceptance to PA school. I know your parents are very proud, as well they should be. I am proud of you too. Your successes are beacons of light for us all.