Honoring our veterans: a proud refugee serves our country
Kaw Hser spent over a decade in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. After being resettled to the United States, Kaw Hser wanted to give back to the country that welcomed him. He enlisted in the United States Army and proudly served his new country.
Born and raised in Mae La camp on the Thai-Burma border, Kaw Hser spent the first 12 years of his life in camp. He was resettled to the United States with his family in 2007, although some of his family members still live in the camp. His family is ethnically Karen, a minority group in Burma.
Kaw Hser served as an infantry man for three years in the United States Army. He served in the War on Terror. Kaw Hser was first stationed for one year in South Korea at Camp Casey, located on the border of North and South Korea. He was also stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, where he was deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
While serving in the army, Kaw Hser said “The things that I liked the most were getting to know people the people I was working with.”
Kaw Hser said he loved sharing stories with the people he served and fought alongside. “I knew that they all came from different backgrounds. It is the most interesting thing to me.”
Today, Kaw Hser is attending college and studying criminal justice and political science.
He plans to work with the police department when he graduates to continue serving his community and country.
In his free time, Kaw Hser likes playing sports, especially soccer. He loves outdoor activities and like many Americans, likes to hunt, fish, canoe, kayak and go to the shooting range.
Kaw Hser is honored to give back to the country that welcomed him. Kaw Hser said the “The thing about living in America that I am most proud of is the United States constitutional rights.”
Kaw Hser understands first-hand what it is like to face persecution. “But in America, everyone has a right to be treated equally.”
Kaw Hser is also proud of his own culture and tries to share and honor his cultural traditions. “The thing about Karen culture that I am most proud of is hospitality. We are very welcoming of others and treat others with respect no matter where they come from.”
A role model to many, Kaw Hser said his advice to other refugees on how to be successful in the United States is to “work hard and think positively.”
Kaw Hser said, “Don’t let your mistakes bring you down. Instead, learn from it and keep on going. Focus what you want to do in your life and be committed to it.”
We are thankful to Kaw Hser for his service to our country. We know refugees make America a better place. Please join us in honoring the 21 million Veterans in our country – including those like Kaw Hser, who have made a choice to serve their new homeland.
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