Former Vietnam refugee, American combat veteran returns home after two months volunteering in Ukraine

Audrey J. Powers

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A former Vietnam refugee and American battle veteran is utilizing his a long time of encounter to help Ukrainians.

Quan Nguyen has noticed all sides of war. 

He just acquired back again from two months in Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine, exactly where he helped refugees. 

He suggests 1 of the toughest factors he observed was an injured 4-yr-aged in the back again of an ambulance contacting for his mom.  

Nguyen is settling again into his Kaysville, Utah, household.  

He and his wife Amy started out the nonprofit Undertaking Force 824 right after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Quan Nguyen, a former Vietnam refugee and American combat veteran, spent two months volunteering in Ukraine, while his wife Amy ran their nonprofit's logistics and social media at their Utah home. (Ashley Soriano/Fox News)

Quan Nguyen, a former Vietnam refugee and American beat veteran, put in two months volunteering in Ukraine, though his spouse Amy ran their nonprofit’s logistics and social media at their Utah household. (Ashley Soriano/Fox Information)

Aug. 24 is the day of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. 

1 week just after developing the charity, Quan was headed to the war zone.

“I believe we were in bed just one night, and he just form of appeared about, and I was like, ‘I know what you’re heading to say,'” Amy said. 

“In the original times when I got into Kyiv, it was a ghost city,” Quan claimed. 

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He aided get refugees shelter, transportation and significant materials. 

“Food stuff charges skyrocketed, so there ended up men and women that couldn’t pay for to purchase a great deal of groceries, so we built the final decision: Okay, great, I am going to just go to a area retailer or a grocery shop and invest in as a great deal foodstuff as I can.”

Quan served in beat in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

And he is aware of what it’s like to be compelled from your home since he and his household escaped Vietnam subsequent the war.

Quan Nguyen and his family first fled Vietnam in 1977, headed for the U.S. They successfully made it in 1980. (Quan Nguyen)

Quan Nguyen and his relatives initial fled Vietnam in 1977, headed for the U.S. They efficiently created it in 1980. (Quan Nguyen)

“We got on the fishing boat, and however the fishing boat — the engine died, so we were being still left stranded in the ocean for about a week or two. We experienced to ration h2o, and then at some point we were being caught,” he claimed. “They sent my father to a tricky labor camp in which his food stuff consists of pig feed. At times they did not get enough drinking water, so they basically reconstituted their urine and try to filter it and drink it.”

Quan states he sees himself in some of the refugees, who experienced to pack up and leave at a moment’s discover with just just one bag of possessions in hand.

The recollections of escaping Vietnam and residing in refugee camps stick with him.

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“It is really just like my household. We arrived here to basically with whichever we could have,” he stated. “Then the PTSD by itself, I consider is incredibly very similar.”

Now, the reminiscences of the Ukrainian war will stick with him, much too.

Quan Nguyen, who volunteered in Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine, for two months, says Kyiv was a ghost town when he arrived. (Quan Nguyen)

Quan Nguyen, who volunteered in Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine, for two months, suggests Kyiv was a ghost town when he arrived. (Quan Nguyen)

One particular memory is when he was asked to enable with an injured 4-calendar year-previous in the back again of an ambulance since there is a paramedic lack.

The journey was 10 several hours.


“The treatment wore off, and he was telling his mother, ‘Everything hurts my ears, my eyes, my hair,’ and I’m hunting at her, she’s looking at me,” he said. “The only point that we ended up offered from the medical practitioners was I believe it was ibuprofen… I was just striving to feel, racking my brain, what else can we do, make him snug, distract him. That was a hard one particular.”

Though he was in Ukraine, his wife Amy handled the nonprofit’s logistics and social media, but they equally have programs to return this summer time together with their a few little ones.

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