Port Hood Syrian refugees supported by Vietnamese boat people

A family who fled Vietnam more than three decades ago and was welcomed by a small seaside community in Cape Breton is now reaching out to help a group of Syrian refugees settling in the very same village.

The Tran family arrived in Port Hood in 1980 and later resettled in Ontario. Fond memories of the support they received in Cape Breton has prompted them to donate $2,000 to Port Hood's latest refugee effort.

Contacted at his Toronto home by telephone, Tony Tran remembers the warm welcome that he, his mother, two brothers and other members of the extended family received when they arrived in Cape Breton. Tran was 19 years old at the time. "It meant a lot," he said, "coming from a war-torn country and not knowing what the future would be. It had such a profound effect on all of us.

"We made the right decision to come to Canada."

And to show they have not forgotten the kindness they experienced, Tran says the family decided to make a donation to the Syrian resettlement committee to help with expenses.

It didn't end there. A businessman Tran worked for in Toronto several years ago heard what he had done and matched the $2,000 donation.

The original family of nine that arrived in Port Hood has now grown to 35.

"We have first generation Canadians in our family, and now even second generation coming along," said Tran, who is a computer consultant now in his mid-50s.

Father John Van Zutphen, co-chair of the Port Hood resettlement committee led by St. Peter's Parish, says the money donated by the Tran family is being used to help two Syrian families who have moved into two houses in the community.

A third family is coming, he added, but it's not yet clear when they will arrive. When they do, they will move into a home in nearby Southwest Mabou that has been donated to them for a year, he said.

Source: CBC