Fresno school named after General Vang Pao
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Unified School Board unanimously approved naming a new southeast elementary school in honor of the late Hmong leader, General Vang Pao.
Blong Xiong said, "To see this happen is truly historical for our community and our city as well."
Mister Vang was a former general in the royal army of Laos who led thousands of Hmong guerillas in a CIA-backed secret army during the Vietnam War. He became a military leader quickly. Battling Japanese invaders as a teen in World War II. Then fighting for the French in the 1950's and after he was named a general, he fought for the Americans during the Vietnam War, which spilled over into Laos and Cambodia.
Chao Lee said, "He's the one that brought us over to the United States and without him we wouldn't be here."
Wednesday night, dozens of people packed the audience to show their support for a school bearing his name. Holding up signs and pictures of the beloved leader - they shared memories of how the war hero inspired them to stay in school, how he built campuses and increased access to education in their former homeland and sent teachers to educate children in rural villages.
Among those in attendance, his youngest son, who travelled with his father as he visited his people near and far.
Chi Neng Vang said, "He always advocated for education as a key to success and prosperity, but also to stability and building better communities, not just the Hmong community, but the entire community at large."
The general's name was one of the top ten candidates out of 116 submissions. Members of the community gathered 10 thousand signatures in support of naming a school in his honor. A man they referred to as their father, and a leader comparable to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or Martin Luther King.
Chi Neng Vang said, "It's very moving and touching to my family and people to the Hmong community.
The campus is being built on an 8-acre plot of land near Tenth and Heaten Streets.
general vang pao, fresno, fresno county, fresno southeast, fresno unified school district, education, linda mumma
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