Laotian immigrant, convert and Iraq veteran shares story

by | Apr. 25, 2013

Opinions & Features

For Utah National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Sisaliao Vongphakdy, 35, of Eagle Mountain, Utah, the journey to a college degree has been a long one stretching from Laos to California, from Utah to Iraq, and from 1999 to 2013.

Vongphakdy, who goes by Leo, will be at the Marriott Center this week to receive his BYU diploma, a Bachelor of General Studies degree with a management emphasis. There to cheer for him will be his parents, his wife Julia, and their three children, Jordan, Joshua and Jasmin.

Born in war-torn Laos, Leo was only six years old when his family, an uncle and another family dodged border guards and floated canoes across the Mekong River into Thailand in search of a better, more stable life. There they were put into one refugee camp, then another.

Read the rest of this story at news.byu.edu
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