Cambodian Appreciation Day, an event to honor the selfless and noble attributes of the earliest community leaders, living and deceased, who put the traumatizing anguish of the genocidal Killing Fields behind them, to not only succeed in a new home but to ensure the help was there for others — will be held Aug. 5-6, all day at the Wat Munisotaram Cambodian Buddhist Temple, 2925- 220 St. E, Hampton, MN 55031.
“We would like to honor the United Cambodian Association of Minnesota, past and present staff and board members, the members of the Cambodian Buddhist Society, members the Church of Nazarene, the Cambodian Assembly of God, community members and friends, who assist us in the resettlement and special appreciation to the Refugee and Immigrant Resource Center, which is now UCAM, who sponsored all the OP1 cases,” stated Lar Mundstock, founding director.
The Organzing Committee includes Nong Chin; Sothea P. Poch, JD, SMRLS; Sotheary Duong, MA, teacher; Prof. Cheng Thach, Ph.D, Lar Mundstock, RIRC Founder, President, former UCAM director; Yanat Chhith, SEARCH director and Cambodian Buddhist Society Board Member; Sova Niev, former Assembly of God Church outreach; Sithoeun Chem, MCBS volunteer; and Setra Peou, volunteer.
The event will honor past leaders who have since passed on. UCAM Board Members’ Bob Popken and Meng Kruy Ung; past UCAM Director Darina Siv; and several community volunteers who have supported UCAM programs.
The Program for August 5, beginning at 6 p.m. with Buddhist Ritual Chanting and a Lecture. On August 6, starting at 9 a.m., a social gathering and Buddhist ritual chanting will run until 11 a.m. when emcee Chanbo Keo will introduce speakers, Nong Chin and Sothea P. Poch, who will speak about the refugee immigrant experience and the importance of OP1 Status and RIRC sponsorship.
Lar Mundstock will discuss her role in the sponsorship of the OP1 cases for RIRC, followed by Yoeurt Yan, who sponsored the Chin family, and Cheng Thach, educator.
The Chin’s arrived to Minnesota on August 6. 1991. The parents are employed and raised a harmonious family to get a good education and become good citizens. The youngest child, Sam Nong, was 4 years old, and is now in his third year at Normandale College. Another sibling, Thany Nong has enlisted in the U.S. Army to become a cavalry scout.
“Without (UCAM’s) help, we might have to face the repatriation and live miserable life like many others, whom we had known in the refugee camp in Thailand,” stated Mr. Chin Nong, expressing his gratitude to those who helped his family to migrate to the United States and helped to make it different in his life and the lives of his family members.
Lunch will follow at noon with short testimonial appreciations.