My Immigrant and American Dream Story

I, too, have had many struggles… as a single parent with primary custody, as a veteran with medical disability, and as a first-generation immigrant. But with America’s freedoms, opportunities, and can-do spirit, I am unwavering in my quest for the American dream. Let’s work together to restore America’s freedoms, opportunities, and the American dream that I knew. Let’s work together to make Virginia better for ALL.

Part of the NYC International Parade
Helping those in need after Hurricane Harvey
Honoring Korean Veterans
Biking For Diversity

I am Nhan Huynh, a first-generation immigrant born in Vietnam several years after the Vietnam War ended.  At that time, my mother, as an educator and trailblazing woman of her time for the Republic of Vietnam (U.S ally), was forced into a new economic zone by the Vietnamese Communist government. The new economic zone was a type of forced labor concentration camp for civilians.  My father, a military man for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), was sent to a re-education camp, another type of forced labor concentration camp but for military personnel.  I grew up sickly and malnourished.  Luckily, my parents’ tenure at the camps were short compared to others.

As a young boy, I witnessed first hand the terrible economic policies, dictatorship, use-of-force and censorship enacted by the Vietnamese Communist government that caused terrible famine, supply shortages, discrimination, poverty, and many deaths even after the Vietnam War already ended.  Seeing that their children cannot have a future under communist rule, my parents escaped the clutches and evils of communism by seeking refuge in America.

As refugees, my family came to the U.S with nothing but the clothes on our back.  My parents devoted their twilight years to overcoming adversity in America, aiming to give me a better life. We were grateful for the aid we received from churches, temples, and American charities when we first arrived in the U.S, not knowing English. It was a combination of republican government policies promoting equal opportunities, economic freedom, and the unity of the community that enabled us to prosper in America.  Those impressions instilled in me a strong sense of both cultural Vietnamese and American values, hard work, duty and responsibility.In a relatively short time, I managed to learn English, took the admission test to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Tech (TJHSST), and was offered admission after two rounds based on merits.  Following high school, I pursued an Engineering degree at Virginia Tech. However, when 9/11 occurred, I felt compelled to enlist and attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in the U.S Army as a way of giving back to the country that had given my family so much.

Unfortunately, an injury sustained during training cut my Army career short. I returned home to care for my aging parents, working in IT and volunteering in local communities. I volunteered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deployments to help those in need in disaster-struck areas, following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey. In addition to this, I worked as an IT consultant for high-profile agencies such as Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The next phase of my life found myself coping with being part of the “sandwich generation”.  I started my dream family with children while having to care for my aging parents. Sadly, both of my parents passed away shortly thereafter, their lives marked by the stresses of previously living under the harsh conditions of Vietnamese communist rule. Despite this loss, I find joy and purpose in being a devoted single father to three wonderful children, for whom I hold primary custody, and actively participating in their care, education, and upbringing.

I firmly believe in public service, common sense legislation regardless of political ideologies, and empathy.  I understand the struggles of being poor and alone, needing help, both as a young child under communist rule and as a single parent unable to work during the Covid era.  I know what it means to need help and to feel powerless.  I want my voice, other parents’ voices, and other Northern Virginians to be heard in Richmond.  I want to bring diversity to Richmond as an Asian male veteran with a life filled with volunteerism and multiculturalism.

Most of all, I want to restore America’s freedoms, opportunities, and the American dream that I knew existed. I want to work for you in the Virginia House of Delegates to make Virginia better for ALL.

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