Last year for Father’s Day I shared a glimpse of my father’s life through his relationship with my mom. This year I’d like to thank him for teaching me lifelong lessons about compassion for those in need. The Dallas communities have honored my father (and mother) many times for their generous contributions through their years of outstanding work for the school district and endless volunteer work on behalf of the Vietnamese-American community. But what most people may not realize is that for a few moments of public accolade are decades of actual, long hours of helping the less fortunate even while carrying a heavy load of juggling careers and family.
From all the years of traveling around the world, I truly believe that Americans embody the spirit of volunteerism. My parents are no exception, and they would never make a big deal out of what they feel to be a moral, social, and personal responsibility to help others. But what is exceptional is that sometimes an act of random kindness can bind two strangers in such a profound way that only my father can describe in an introduction he recently wrote for a book put together by a family friend, Angie. The book is a tribute to her elderly father, Dr. Há»“ Quang NguyÃªn (BÃ¡c NguyÃªn), and a compilation of anecdotes, stories and musings about him by people who treasure him. The full text in Vietnamese is copied below for those of you lucky enough to be able to appreciate my dad’s lyrical use of our beautiful maternal language.
I have to admit I read it straight through the first time, rather quickly, for the gist of the story, because I was caught up in it and was rushing to see if there was a happy ending. Then I read it slowly the second time, stopping a few times to look up some vocabulary in my Vietnamese-English dictionary. OK, thirteen times if you insist on the truth! The third time I read it, it was to pick up all the nuances couched in the syntax he used. I was also involved in the reading because I knew of Angie and her parents but, given my long absence from Dallas, did not know much of what had transpired in their lives. I also never knew why Angie’s parents were always honored guests at important functions like weddings in our family or why their names would continue to come up in conversation after so many years.
As my father wrote, he was introduced to BÃ¡c NguyÃªn by a mutual friend in the summer of 1986. BÃ¡c NguyÃªn had just relocated from Houston to Dallas with his extended family. Over lunch, my father learned that BÃ¡c NguyÃªn had been through re-education camps under communist rule after the Fall of Saigon, and the symptoms of this incarceration manifested themselves both mentally and physically. The oddly strong kinship my father suddenly felt for this older stranger defied explanation. Immediately my father was compelled to do whatever he could to help this man. He was troubled that such an immigrant, limited by age, would meet difficulties adjusting to this new country. He might have been an esteemed medical doctor from a prominent family in Vietnam, but in 1986 he was relegated to minimum-waged work as a gas station attendant. Stories like these were not uncommon for many well-educated refugees, and perhaps you even know of some yourself. They can break your heart or move you to find some kind of moral victory…and even happy endings.
Luckily, my father is a champion of if not happy endings then better lives. He was able to help BÃ¡c NguyÃªn find a job through his employer, DISD, as a translator/tutor, negotiating the most favorable contract terms possible. To show his appreciation for this golden opportunity, for ten years until BÃ¡c NguyÃªn retired in 1996, he was a model employee for the school district. He was a beloved teacher, mentor, and inspiration to students, teachers and principals alike. As notoriously meticulous as my father had always been in his own job as an educator, even he was humbled by BÃ¡c NguyÃªn’s dedication to this job, whether it was staying up much too late to prepare lesson plans or taking time to counsel refugee families who could benefit from his own experiences with hardship. The responsibility he assumed in doing the best he could in this job did not go unnoticed, and my father felt tremendous pride with every compliment BÃ¡c NguyÃªn received from his colleagues. I find it particularly telling of my father’s character when he writes that it is he who got to ride the coattails of BÃ¡c NguyÃªn’s praises. He felt that he had gotten the better end of the bargain when others may say differently…
Shortly after joining the school district in 1986, BÃ¡c NguyÃªn had open-heart surgery in the same year. Sometimes life is really hard, and sometimes serendipity makes it more bearable. The new job came just at the right time and with it was insurance to cover his medical expenses. My dad saw BÃ¡c NguyÃªn as a godsend to the school district and Dallas community for his tireless work, and BÃ¡c NguyÃªn probably saw this job as a godsend for a second chance at so many things. As a third party reading my father’s tale about BÃ¡c NguyÃªn, what I see is that a chance encounter led to a rich, quiet friendship spanning over two decades. I wonder if perhaps my dad didn’t see a little of my grandfather in BÃ¡c NguyÃªn…soft-spoken, kind, didactic, virtuous.
You know, if you’re lucky enough to have a strong father figure in your life, you know what it means when I say he can be larger than life. My father takes after his father so he was extremely strict, difficult, and overly protective of us three girls while we were growing up. Expectations were high and just a hint of disappointment in my father’s eyes was enough guilt to last a lifetime. No spanking was ever needed. Love was neither loudly spoken nor shown through words and hugs, though he did mellow out significantly for my younger sister…but that’s a common perk for the baby of the family. Today, however, he is a big marshmallow.
But back in the day, this was a real test for me during the first few years after immigrating to the US because I was grappling with a foreign, overly affectionate American culture where my new friends would be coddled in affection and material rewards. And here I was, guilt-stricken from once having overheard my parent’s private but heated discussion of budgeting for a pair of shoes for me because my mom had noticed that I had outgrown my sneakers. In hindsight, perhaps the shoes were not the reason for the argument–there were so many stresses in their lives at that point that anything could have triggered strong words. But that night I prayed that my feet would stop growing. I think I was ten or eleven. I also prayed that puberty would never find me so I wouldn’t have to ask for a training bra, too. Well, God said no on stopping the feet growth but yes on limiting the boobs, so be careful what you wish for…but I digress. Unfortunately for my parents, not only were their daughters blessed with growing feet, they also required braces and a million other expenses. Yet somehow, my parents managed again and again and we all headed to college and even grad school.
So while I secretly envied the friends whose parents openly said the magic words (I love you), never once did I doubt my parents’ love, because I saw how hard they both worked to rebuild a life for us five (plus the nanny and other family members). They were barely in their 30s when we moved to this country and I know from experience that that age comes with a lot of…personal stuff. But they set aside all of that for us because parents are selfless in that way.
I don’t mean to relate these stories of our early years in the US for sympathy because we have been very blessed, and I hope my parents will forgive my moment of oversharing. These life experiences are just one of many puzzle pieces that sum us up both as individuals and a family unit today. When I think about the challenges my parents went through when we first got here, it gives me willpower to persevere through my own difficulties. It also explains my zero tolerance for whining, especially my own. A long lost friend from high school recently teased me about being dismissive of my past, and while he was correct that I was trying to deny my 80s hairstyles and fashion missteps, I think it is impossible to arrive at the present without being fully conscious of your past, especially when your past was built on your parents’ blood, sweat and tears.
This is a really long route I’ve taken today to simply write about what a special man my father is. By sharing a story he wrote about someone else’s father, I get to give you a peek inside his infinite heart.
If you can read Vietnamese, below is a real Father’s Day treat.
CÆ DUYÃŠN HY Há»®U
ÄÃ m Trung PhÃ¡p
â€œGiÃ¡o sÆ° PhÃ¡p Æ¡i, má»i cá»¥ ghÃ© vÄƒn phÃ²ng tÃ´i trÆ°a nay. TÃ´i muá»‘n giá»›i thiá»‡u vá»›i cá»¥ má»™t ngÆ°á»i báº¡n vá»«a tá»« Houston dá»n Ä‘áº¿n Dallas, rá»“i chÃºng ta Ä‘i Äƒn trÆ°a vá»›i nhau.â€ ÄÃ³ lÃ lá»i BÃ¡c sÄ© TrÆ°Æ¡ng Ngá»c TÃch nháº¯n tÃ´i trÃªn Ä‘iá»‡n thoáº¡i vÄƒn phÃ²ng trong Khu Há»c ChÃ¡nh Dallas vÃ o má»™t ngÃ y hÃ¨ 1986. LÃºc áº¥y BÃ¡c sÄ© TÃch vÃ tÃ´i Ä‘ang sÃ¡t cÃ¡nh lÃ m viá»‡c cá»™ng Ä‘á»“ng, thÃ¢n nhau vÃ´ cÃ¹ng nhÆ°ng váº«n giá»¯ lá»‘i xÆ°ng hÃ´ dá»±a trÃªn nghá» nghiá»‡p vÃ cÃ²n gá»i nhau báº±ng â€œcá»¥â€ ná»¯a! TÃ´i vá»«a trá»Ÿ láº¡i vÄƒn phÃ²ng sau má»™t buá»•i há»p, nghe lá»i nháº¯n áº¥y rá»“i lÃ¡i xe Ä‘áº¿n vÄƒn phÃ²ng BÃ¡c sÄ© TÃch cÃ¡ch nÆ¡i tÃ´i lÃ m viá»‡c cháº³ng bao xa.
BÃ¡c sÄ© TÃch vÃ â€œngÆ°á»i báº¡nâ€ áº¥y Ä‘ang Ä‘á»£i tÃ´i. â€œGiÃ¡o sÆ° PhÃ¡p, Ä‘Ã¢y lÃ BÃ¡c sÄ© Há»“ Quang NguyÃªn má»›i cÃ¹ng gia Ä‘Ã¬nh chuyá»ƒn cÆ° tá»« Houston vá» Dallas,â€ BÃ¡c sÄ© TÃch thÃ¢n tÃ¬nh giá»›i thiá»‡u chÃºng tÃ´i vá»›i nhau. Sau cÃ¡i báº¯t tay lÃ m quen, chÃºng tÃ´i trao Ä‘á»•i nhá»¯ng cÃ¢u xÃ£ giao vá» gia Ä‘Ã¬nh, vá» thá»i cuá»™c. Ã”ng nÃ³i nÄƒng tá»« tá»‘n, sáº½ sÃ ng, nhÆ°ng cÅ©ng lá»™ ra nhá»¯ng nÃ©t Æ°u tÆ° vÃ e dÃ¨. TÃ´i tá»± há»i pháº£i chÄƒng Ä‘Ã³ lÃ do nhá»¯ng nÄƒm Ã´ng bá»‹ Ä‘á»a Ä‘áº§y trong cÃ¡c tráº¡i tÃ¹ cá»™ng sáº£n sau quá»‘c náº¡n 1975 cá»™ng thÃªm nhá»¯ng lo láº¯ng vá» mÆ°u sinh cá»§a má»™t ngÆ°á»i tá»µ náº¡n lá»›n tuá»•i? TÃ´i xÃ³t xa cho má»™t cuá»™c Ä‘á»•i Ä‘á»i nghiá»‡t ngÃ£, khi biáº¿t Ã´ng lÃ con trai cá»§a cá»‘ Thá»§ hiáº¿n Nam Viá»‡t Há»“ Quang HoÃ i, tá»«ng lÃ má»™t Äáº¡i tÃ¡ QuÃ¢n y, tá»«ng lÃ GiÃ¡m Ä‘á»‘c Trung tÃ¢m Y táº¿ HÃ n-Viá»‡t á»Ÿ Saigon trong nhá»¯ng thÃ¡ng ngÃ y rá»±c rá»¡ cá»§a Viá»‡t Nam Cá»™ng HÃ²a. á»ž trong hoÃ n cáº£nh cá»§a Ã´ng, cháº¯c gÃ¬ tÃ´i Ä‘Ã£ can Ä‘áº£m báº±ng Ã´ng Ä‘Æ°á»£c?
BÃ¡c sÄ© TÃch sau Ä‘Ã³ lÃ¡i xe Ä‘Æ°a chÃºng tÃ´i Ä‘i Äƒn trÆ°a táº¡i quÃ¡n Äƒn La Pagode cá»§a ngÆ°á»i Viá»‡t, cÃ¡ch vÄƒn phÃ²ng cá»§a Ã´ng má»™t vÃ i gÃ³c phá»‘. NÃ³i chuyá»‡n thÃªm vá»›i BÃ¡c sÄ© NguyÃªn trong bá»¯a Äƒn Ä‘Ã³, tÃ´i bá»—ng tháº¥y mÃ¬nh quÃ½ máº¿n vÃ thÆ°Æ¡ng cáº£m ngÆ°á»i Ä‘á»“ng hÆ°Æ¡ng má»›i quen nÃ y má»™t cÃ¡ch láº¡ ká»³.
TÃ´i tin ráº±ng cÃ³ nhá»¯ng háº¡nh ngá»™ báº¥t ngá» xáº£y ra trong Ä‘á»i do nhá»¯ng cÆ¡ duyÃªn huyá»n bÃ. Buá»•i trÆ°a hÃ¨ Ä‘Ã³ lÃ má»™t háº¡nh ngá»™ cho tÃ´i vÃ BÃ¡c sÄ© Há»“ Quang NguyÃªn, má»™t ngÆ°á»i tÃ´i Ä‘Ã£ quÃ½ trá»ng ngay tá»« trong buá»•i sÆ¡ giao. Thá»±c lÃ má»™t cÆ¡ duyÃªn hy há»¯u, vÃ¬ lÃºc Ã´ng Ä‘ang cáº§n viá»‡c lÃ m cÅ©ng chÃnh lÃ lÃºc tÃ´i Ä‘ang cáº§n tuyá»ƒn má»™ thÃªm má»™t cá»™ng sá»± viÃªn cho chÆ°Æ¡ng trÃ¬nh giÃ¡o dá»¥c tá»µ náº¡n vÃ di dÃ¢n trá»±c thuá»™c vÄƒn phÃ²ng tÃ´i trong Khu Há»c ChÃ¡nh Dallas! TÃ´i Ä‘Ã£ Ä‘Ãch thÃ¢n cáº¥p tá»‘c hoÃ n táº¥t cÃ¡c thá»§ tá»¥c hÃ nh chÃ¡nh tuyá»ƒn má»™ Ã´ng vÃ viá»‡n lÃ½ do Ã´ng lÃ má»™t á»©ng viÃªn cÃ³ há»c vá»‹ tiáº¿n sÄ© Ä‘á»ƒ Ä‘á» nghá»‹ má»©c lÆ°Æ¡ng tá»‘i Ä‘a cho Ã´ng. Má»›i chÃ¢n Æ°á»›t chÃ¢n rÃ¡o dá»n vá» Dallas, Ã´ng Ä‘Ã£ trá»Ÿ thÃ nh má»™t cÃ´ng chá»©c cá»§a khu há»c chÃ¡nh thÃ nh phá»‘ nÃ y. Ã”ng vui bao nhiÃªu thÃ¬ tÃ´i cÅ©ng biáº¿t Æ¡n cuá»™c Ä‘á»i báº¥y nhiÃªu Ä‘Ã£ Ä‘Æ°a Ä‘áº¿n cho tÃ´i má»™t cá»™ng sá»± viÃªn gÆ°Æ¡ng máº«u, má»™t â€œgodsendâ€ nhÆ° ngÆ°á»i Má»¹ thÆ°á»ng nÃ³i. CÃ´ng viá»‡c nÃ y Ã´ng Ä‘Ã£ lÃ m háº¿t sá»©c mÃ¬nh trong 10 nÄƒm cho Ä‘áº¿n lÃºc há»“i hÆ°u vÃ o mÃ¹a hÃ¨ 1996. Trong ngáº§n áº¥y nÄƒm, BÃ¡c sÄ© Há»“ Quang NguyÃªn Ä‘Æ°á»£c táº¥t cáº£ há»c sinh, phá»¥ huynh, cÃ¡c tháº§y cÃ´, vÃ cÃ¡c hiá»‡u trÆ°á»Ÿng quÃ½ trá»ng vÃ ca ngá»£i. Nhá» vÃ o sá»± táºn tá»¥y dáº¡y riÃªng tá»«ng nhÃ³m há»c trÃ² (tutoring) vá» tiáº¿ng Anh cÅ©ng nhÆ° cÃ¡c mÃ´n há»c khÃ¡c cá»§a Ã´ng mÃ biáº¿t bao tráº» em Viá»‡t Nam Ä‘Ã£ vÆ°á»£t qua Ä‘Æ°á»£c cÃ¡c khÃ³ khÄƒn vá» ngÃ´n ngá»¯ nÆ¡i há»c Ä‘Æ°á»ng. Ã”ng cÅ©ng khÃ´ng quáº£n ngáº¡i thÄƒm viáº¿ng cÃ¡c gia Ä‘Ã¬nh há»c trÃ² Ä‘á»ƒ cá»‘ váº¥n cho cÃ¡c phá»¥ huynh cÅ©ng nhÆ° khuyÃªn báº£o con chÃ¡u cá»§a há». TÃ´i khÃ´ng thá»ƒ quÃªn Ä‘Æ°á»£c sá»± cáº©n trá»ng vÃ tinh tháº§n trÃ¡ch nhiá»‡m cá»§a Ã´ng khi tÃ´i má»i Ã´ng dáº¡y thÃªm cÃ¡c lá»›p tiáº¿ng Viá»‡t nhiá»‡m Ã½ báºc trung há»c tá»« mÃ¹a thu 1994 Ä‘áº¿n khi Ã´ng há»“i hÆ°u. TÃ´i chÆ°a tháº¥y ai soáº¡n bÃ i ká»¹ lÆ°á»¡ng váº£ giáº£ng dáº¡y nghiÃªm trang nhÆ° Ã´ng, ngÃ y nÃ y sang ngÃ y ná». ChÃnh bÃ NguyÃªn Ä‘Ã£ cho tÃ´i biáº¿t lÃ Ã´ng thá»©c khuya láº¯m Ä‘á»ƒ soáº¡n bÃ i vÃ luÃ´n luÃ´n Ä‘i kiáº¿m thÃªm sÃ¡ch tiáº¿ng Viá»‡t cho cÃ¡c há»c trÃ² cá»§a Ã´ng! Dáº¡y há»c chá»‰ lÃ nghá» báº¥t Ä‘áº¯c dÄ© cá»§a Ã´ng, nhÆ°ng Ã´ng Ä‘Ã£ thÃ nh cÃ´ng má»¹ mÃ£n trong thiÃªn chá»©c nÃ y. Má»—i láº§n cÃ¡c vá»‹ hiá»‡u trÆ°á»Ÿng khen ngá»£i kháº£ nÄƒng lÃ m viá»‡c xuáº¥t sáº¯c cá»§a Ã´ng, tÃ´i Ä‘á»u hÃ£nh diá»‡n cho há» biáº¿t thÃªm vá» quÃ¡ khá»© huy hoÃ ng cá»§a Ã´ng nÆ¡i quÃª nhÃ . TÃ´i Ä‘Ã£ nhiá»u láº§n Ä‘Æ°á»£c thÆ¡m lÃ¢y vÃ¬ Ã´ng.
Ráº¥t mau chÃ³ng, gia Ä‘Ã¬nh chÃºng tÃ´i vÃ gia Ä‘Ã¬nh anh chá»‹ NguyÃªn trá»Ÿ nÃªn thÃ¢n tÃ¬nh. CÃ³ thá»ƒ anh Ä‘Ã£ khÃ´ng biáº¿t Ä‘iá»u nÃ y, giá» Ä‘Ã¢y tÃ´i má»›i nÃ³i ra: TÃ´i Ä‘Ã£ há»c Ä‘Æ°á»£c tá»« anh nhá»¯ng gÆ°Æ¡ng máº«u Ä‘Ãch thá»±c vá» khiÃªm cung, thá»§y chung, thÃ nh tÃn, vÃ trÃ¡ch nhiá»‡m. Anh chá»‹ cÃ³ thÃ³i quen Ä‘áº¿n thÄƒm chÃºng tÃ´i mÃ khÃ´ng bÃ¡o trÆ°á»›c â€“ chÃºng tÃ´i thÆ°á»ng Ä‘Ã¹a anh chá»‹ lÃ chÃºng tÃ´i bá»‹ anh chá»‹ â€œphá»¥c kÃchâ€ vÃ chá»‰ e ngáº¡i náº¿u anh chá»‹ Ä‘áº¿n mÃ mÃ¬nh khÃ´ng á»Ÿ nhÃ thÃ¬ tháºt uá»•ng thÃ¬ giá» anh chá»‹. Chá»‹ nÃ³i chuyá»‡n há»“n nhiÃªn vÃ cÃ³ duyÃªn háº¿t sá»©c; vá»£ chá»“ng chÃºng tÃ´i cÅ©ng tháº§m phá»¥c kháº£ nÄƒng phÃ¡t Ã¢m chÃnh xÃ¡c Ä‘Æ°á»£c cáº£ ba phÆ°Æ¡ng ngá»¯ HÃ Ná»™i, Huáº¿, vÃ Saigon cá»§a chá»‹. Anh thÃ¬ Ãt nÃ³i, thÆ°á»ng chá»‰ má»‰m cÆ°á»i ngá»“i nghe chÃºng tÃ´i Ä‘á»‘i Ä‘Ã¡p nhÆ° báº¯p rang vá»›i chá»‹. CÃ³ láº§n anh chá»‹ Ä‘áº¿n thÄƒm vÃ mang cho chÃºng tÃ´i má»™t cháºu mÃ£n Ä‘Ã¬nh há»“ng lá»™ng láº«y vá»›i nhá»¯ng Ä‘Ã³a hoa vá»«a ná»Ÿ, cÃ ng ngáº¯m cÃ ng mÃª. Anh chá»‹ Ä‘Ã£ tá»± tay chÄƒm sÃ³c vun tÆ°á»›i cÃ¢y hoa quÃ½ phÃ¡i áº¥y tá»« lÃºc má»›i náº©y máº§m cho Ä‘áº¿n khi nÃ³ trá»Ÿ thÃ nh má»™t cháºu hoa rá»±c rá»¡ Ä‘á»ƒ mang táº·ng chÃºng tÃ´i. Anh chá»‹ Ä‘Ã¡ng yÃªu Ä‘áº¿n tháº¿ Ä‘áº¥y! ChÆ°a háº¿t Ä‘Ã¢u. Chá»‹ cÃ²n cÃ³ tÃ i lÃ m bÃ¡nh ngon vÃ Ä‘áº¹p ná»•i tiáº¿ng Dallas, ai ai cÅ©ng phá»¥c. Chá»‹ Ä‘Ã£ Æ°u Ã¡i lÃ m bÃ¡nh táº·ng cho hai con gÃ¡i chÃºng tÃ´i trong tiá»‡c cÆ°á»›i cá»§a cÃ¡c chÃ¡u, gá»i gáº¥m trong hai bÃ¡nh cÆ°á»›i Ä‘áº¹p tuyá»‡t tráº§n áº¥y lÃ²ng yÃªu thÆ°Æ¡ng Ä‘áº·c biá»‡t chá»‹ dÃ nh cho cÃ¡c chÃ¡u.
Nhá»¯ng nÄƒm khá»‘n khá»• trong tráº¡i tÃ¹ cá»™ng sáº£n Ä‘Ã£ lÃ m háº¡i sá»©c khá»e cá»§a anh. Khoáº£ng gáº§n lá»… GiÃ¡ng sinh 1986, tá»©c lÃ má»›i vÃ i thÃ¡ng sau khi anh báº¯t Ä‘áº§u lÃ m viá»‡c cho Khu Há»c ChÃ¡nh Dallas, anh tráº£i qua má»™t cuá»™c má»• tim cá»±c ká»³ hiá»ƒm nguy á»Ÿ Dallas. Nghe tin dá»¯, chÃºng tÃ´i vá»™i Ä‘áº¿n bá»‡nh viá»‡n thÄƒm anh. Angie, Ã¡i ná»¯ Ä‘áº£m Ä‘ang vÃ hiáº¿u tháº£o cá»§a anh, nÃ³i trong nÆ°á»›c máº¯t, â€œXin chÃº thÃm cáº§u nguyá»‡n cho bá»‘ chÃ¡u!â€ ChÃºng tÃ´i cÅ©ng nÆ°á»›c máº¯t lÆ°ng trÃ²ng vÃ thÃ¬ tháº§m cáº§u nguyá»‡n Æ n TrÃªn cho anh Ä‘Æ°á»£c bÃ¬nh an trong cuá»™c giáº£i pháº«u. Cuá»™c giáº£i pháº«u, tuy cá»©u Ä‘Æ°á»£c Ä‘á»i anh, Ä‘Ã£ khÃ´ng hoÃ n háº£o. Ãt lÃ¢u sau Ä‘Ã³, gia Ä‘Ã¬nh anh Ä‘Ã£ pháº£i Ä‘Æ°a anh Ä‘i Houston Ä‘á»ƒ giáº£i pháº«u láº¡i. Láº§n nÃ y, anh Ä‘Æ°á»£c chÃnh vá»‹ bÃ¡c sÄ© giáº£i pháº«u tim ná»•i tiáº¿ng hoÃ n cáº§u lÃ BÃ¡c sÄ© Michael DeBakey sá»a láº¡i nhá»¯ng báº¥t toÃ n cá»§a cuá»™c giáº£i pháº«u á»Ÿ Dallas. Sá»± thÃ nh cÃ´ng cá»§a cuá»™c giáº£i pháº«u á»Ÿ Houston vÃ sá»± há»“i phá»¥c sá»©c khá»e mau chÃ³ng cá»§a anh sau Ä‘Ã³ lÃ má»™t niá»m vui vÃ´ táºn cho gia Ä‘Ã¬nh anh vÃ cho táº¥t cáº£ nhá»¯ng ngÆ°á»i quÃ½ máº¿n anh á»Ÿ kháº¯p má»i nÆ¡i.
Anh vá» hÆ°u trong mÃ¹a hÃ¨ 1996, vÃ Ãt lÃ¢u sau Ä‘Ã³ tÃ´i cÅ©ng rá»i Khu Há»c ChÃ¡nh Dallas Ä‘á»ƒ dáº¡y há»c toÃ n thá»i gian cho Texas Womanâ€™s University. Tá»« lÃºc anh vá» hÆ°u cho Ä‘áº¿n nhá»¯ng nÄƒm gáº§n Ä‘Ã¢y thÃ´i, anh thÆ°á»ng lÃ¡i xe Ä‘Æ°a chá»‹ Ä‘i thÄƒm con cÃ¡i vÃ báº¡n bÃ¨ á»Ÿ nhiá»u tiá»ƒu bang khÃ¡c nhau trÃªn Ä‘áº¥t Má»¹. Má»—i láº§n nghe tin anh chá»‹ chu du nhÃ n táº£n nhÆ° váºy, chÃºng tÃ´i thá»±c an tÃ¢m.
NhÃ¢n dá»‹p Fatherâ€™s Day 2010, Angie muá»‘n in má»™t táºp sÃ¡ch nho nhá» chá»©a Ä‘á»±ng nhá»¯ng tÃ¢m tÃ¬nh, nhá»¯ng ká»· niá»‡m thÃ¢n há»¯u viáº¿t vá» anh Ä‘á»ƒ táº·ng cho thÃ¢n phá»¥. TÃ´i ráº¥t cáº£m kÃch Ä‘Æ°á»£c Ä‘Ã³ng gÃ³p bÃ i viáº¿t nÃ y Ä‘á»ƒ ghi láº¡i nhá»¯ng Ä‘iá»u tÃ´i nhá»› mÃ£i vá» anh, má»™t ngÆ°á»i báº¡n vong niÃªn ráº¥t quÃ½ cá»§a tÃ´i mÃ tÃ´i, qua má»™t cÆ¡ duyÃªn hy há»¯u, Ä‘Ã£ Ä‘Æ°á»£c gáº·p Ä‘Ãºng 24 nÄƒm vá» trÆ°á»›c.