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Woman with passion for helping others recognized as hero
Journal Inquirer - 2/26/2021
Feb. 26—VERNON — Mayor Daniel Champagne recognized Loan Nguyen — a social worker, Connecticut Army National Guard captain, and volunteer — as a local hero Thursday during an award ceremony at Dunbar Jewelers on Hartford Turnpike.
Nguyen was nominated for the national award by her husband, Thien, through the Royal Chain Heroes program, which partners with jewelry stores throughout the country to recognize individuals who contribute to their communities.
In addition to a proclamation from Champagne declaring Feb. 25 "Loan Nguyen Day," Nguyen also received a sterling silver necklace with white sapphires, a bouquet of flowers, and a teddy bear.
WHO: Loan Nguyen of Avon
WHAT: Recognized as local hero through the national Royal Chain Heroes program
WHY: Nguyen is a licensed clinical social worker for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, a behavioral health officer for the Connecticut Army National Guard, a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor, and a volunteer with the Asian Behavioral Health Collective.
Nguyen, an Avon resident, is a licensed clinical social worker for the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and a behavioral health officer for the Connecticut Army National Guard.
Nguyen credited her mother for teaching her to help those in need from a young age. When she went to college at the University of Connecticut, she said, she "was really passionate about helping others," which led to her obtaining a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in social work.
She said her family was unable to pay for her schooling, which prompted her to join the military to pay for her UConn education. She has remained in the Army National Guard for 18 years, initially serving as a petroleum supply specialist before finishing her education and transitioning to her social work position, in which she helps service members with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.
Nguyen said she also is "committed to community service," serving as a mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and the Asian Behavioral Health Collective.
At Thursday's ceremony, Champagne, a military veteran, thanked Nguyen for her service, as did Chuck Schweitzer and Hilary Dunbar von Hollander, both employees at Dunbar Jewelers who presented her with the necklace, flowers, and stuffed bear. Schweitzer said he was struck by Nguyen's humility.
"We so much want to thank you, especially for just being you," Dunbar von Hollander said.
For updates and coverage of Vernon and Stafford, follow Anthony Branciforte on Twitter: @ABranciforte_JI, Facebook: Reporter Anthony Branciforte, and Instagram: @JI_Anthony1.
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