HOF090: Thomas Vang

Thomas Vang was born in northwestern Laos and grew up in Sayaboury province. During the intensification of Lao civil war in 1968, his home province Oudomxay was overran by the Communist Pathet Lao. His family and along with all of my relatives were evacuated to Sayaboury province. In May, 1975 while he was still in my secondary school, Laos was taken over by the Pathet Lao. My family and other relatives moved again to Thailand as refugees because many of his relatives were in the Royal Lao army. It was no longer safe to stay.

As a Laotian Hmong refugee in Thailand, he was trained by English and Australian medical doctors to be a paramedic, helping the International Red Cross medical doctors to provide medical services to the refugees, particularly to his refugee camp, Soptuang, in Maejarim town of Nan province.

In February 1980 his family was accepted to resettle to Canada and was sponsored by the Christian Reformed Church in Burlington, Ontario. In the spring of 1981 he moved to Kitchener to help organize and lead a Hmong Christian church. His personal situation was still in a state of difficulty, as he worked hard to complete secondary school and then went on to obtain a degree in history at the University of Waterloo in 1991 and a business administration diploma at the Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in 1994. He graduated in a time of economic recession and worked in the insurance and financial industry. He also spent his free time to research and write a Hmong history, titled: A History of the Hmong: From Ancient Times to the Modern World Diaspora.

He is married, and he and his wife Mao have six children.