Our latest event on Wednesday, Nov. 16 featured stories from two men who fled communist countries in their teens. One, not yet old enough to drive, braved gunfire and endured refugee camps. The other risked suffocation and starvation, hidden inside a container on a ship. These two men found freedom and opportunity in America. I think I can speak for everyone when I say their stories really gave us some perspective.

Marian Vlad, who escaped from Romania in his teens, told of his trials in Europe before making his way to the U.S. stowed away in a container on a ship. After running out of food and nearly being stranded in Panama, he managed to make it to California and build a life for himself in America. He now works at Renown here in Reno.

Tom Nguyen escaped from Vietnam with his two brothers at the age of 15. After dodging the Communist army’s gunfire and running out of gas at sea, they were stuck at a Malaysian refugee camp for months. When the opportunity arose to interview for admission to America, they were lucky enough to be accepted. Nguyen then taught himself English while going through med school, eventually becoming the talented vascular surgeon he is today. His brothers have also found success in America; one became an anesthesiologist and the other an aviation engineer.

Before we heard from these two brave men, we were able to connect with some new faces as well as catch up with some old friends. If you attended, we hope you enjoyed the company as much as we did! If you missed this one, stay tuned for upcoming events after the holiday season.