HOF145: Lam Dat Minh
In the years after the fall of Saigon, in Vietnam, Lam Dat Minh helped his parents maintain their textile and pharmacy businesses, as the new government constrained the activities of small businesses and entrepreneurs. When their store inventories were confiscated and their homes seized in 1979, his parents and members of the family went into hiding to avoid being sent to the New Economic Zone. During Lam’s first attempt to escape the country, he was arrested and sent to a labour camp. He escaped and continued to live underground. His second attempt was successful, but the journey was marked by moments of sheer terror as the passengers endured multiple pirate attacks. Once in Canada, he was sponsored by an older sister. He settled with her family in Calgary, Alberta. Lam, his siblings, and their families, supported each other in their efforts to find work and rebuild their lives. Despite his lack of education, Lam was able to acquire the skills he needed to work for much of his career in the auto body repair industry.