In July we honored Binh Tran, who was a loyal sexton at St. Philip’s beginning in 1990. In November of that year, the Tucson refugee office sent him to be interviewed at St. Philip’s, and he was immediately offered a job. He was told by Miriam Nelson, the parish administrator, that he could try the job and if he liked it he could become a permanent employee. Binh found the job to his liking, and 26 years later, he retired.
Binh was a Captain in the South Vietnamese Army when Viet Nam was taken over by the Communist Viet Cong in 1975. Binh was placed in an “Education Camp” by the North Vietnamese Army. His 6-year detention at the camp was a difficult time for Binh, his wife, Thu Ho, and their five children. The U.S. government finally obtained the release of the South Vietnamese Army officers who had been detained and brought them and their families to the United States.
Binh became a U.S. citizen five years after arriving in Tucson, and Thu became a citizen several years later. The family have had a happy and productive life in Tucson and at St. Philip’s. Binh says the people of St. Philip’s showed respect, kindness, and love for him, and he has loved the people of our parish in return.
Binh’s plans for his retirement include travel to visit his children, 15 grandchildren, and family members who live in Texas, England, Asia, France, and Canada. It’s a good thing that Binh and his wife love to travel, for traveling is in their future.
Binh and Thu will live with their daughter and her family in their daughter’s new home in Tucson, where Binh will become the head gardener, caring for the many rose bushes and vegetable garden. At 72, Binh has stayed fit by using exercise equipment in his home, and he hopes, now that he will have more time, to join a gym.
We pray that Binh and Thu will have a long, happy and healthy retirement. And we thank God for Binh’s presence at St. Philip’s.
—The Rev. N. Jean Rogers