They started out from the same country, took different paths, but ended up together in a new land; a land where they found freedom and opportunity, then gave back the gift.
The husband and wife team, Lapthe Chau Flora and Thuy Ngoc Flora, were both presented with the Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution Americanism Award at the Virginia DAR State Conference held March 15-18 at the Richmond Marriott. The Americanism Award is given to a Naturalized American Citizen for leadership, service and patriotism who served their community and assisted others to become American Citizens. The Floras were nominated for this award by the Fort Lewis Chapter.
Lapthe and Thuy were both born in Vietnam in 1964 and escaped by boat to refugee camps as teenagers. Lapthe was adopted by a Roanoke couple, John and Audrey Flora, who helped him finish high school and get accepted into the Virginia Military Academy. Thuy received permission to emigrate to the US with her three younger brothers and cousin. She accomplished her personal goal of an education, receiving a degree in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech, and helping her family earn degrees in engineering, architecture, math and physics.
While at VMI, Lapthe joined the National Guard 116th Regiment. He later learned that his adoptive father was a Battalion Commander with the 116th Regiment during the D-Day invasion. Lapthe quickly moved up the chain of command until he was named Commander of the 116th Regiment as Brigadier General, the first Vietnamese boat person promoted to general officer in the U.S. Army. Professionally, Lapthe works as a defense contractor, developing night vision goggles for the military and holds six patents.
After Lapthe and Thuy were married, she dedicated her life to her husband and their daughter, helping with his military and professional career. Lapthe and Thuy serve as translators for the Vietnamese-American community. Lapthe also translated for the Red Cross and led the formation of the Military Families’ Support Center, Inc. Emmalee Morris, Regent of Fort Lewis Chapter, said, “Lapthe and Thuy Flora represent what is possible to those who freedom and opportunity are afforded, whether they are naturalized or native-born citizens. They are worthy of recognition from us all.
To learn more about Lapthe Chau Flora and Thuy Ngoc Flora or Fort Lewis Chapter contact Emmalee Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-353-8884.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. Its members are descended from the patriots who won American independence during the Revolutionary War.
With nearly 185,000 members in approximately 3,000 chapters worldwide, DAR is one of the world’s largest and most active service organizations. DAR members are committed to volunteer service having served more than 12.5 million hours in communities throughout the world during the last three years. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org or connect with DAR on social media at Facebook.com/TodaysDAR, Twitter.com/TodaysDAR and Youtube.com/TodaysDAR.
-Submitted by Emmalee Morris