More than 400 guests celebrated new Americans and commemorated their courageous journeys at our Walk of Courage Award Gala last Thursday. The event was moving, meaningful, and inspiring. I’d like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all who have generously supported our ministry.
It was a joy to be together while honoring the refugee resettlement ministry of Pastor John Frerking and the great successes of Rich Cho, GM for the Charlotte Hornets.
Rev. Frerking, who has walked alongside more than 200 refugees with his former congregation, Faith Lutheran Church, was given his award by Anh Quach. Quach and her family were resettled with the help of LIRS and Faith Lutheran. Shortly after arriving in the United States, however, Quach’s mother was diagnosed with Leukemia. As she lay on her deathbed, she asked Rev. Frerking if he would help her children go to college one day. Rev. Frerking did just that, and Quach is now a marriage and family counselor. The room filled with joy and applause as Quach and Rev. Frerking reunited after years apart.
Rich Cho, recipient of the Walk of Courage Award, inspired all when he told the story of Allen, his father. Once an editor at a national newspaper in Burma, Allen worked the graveyard shift at 7-Eleven when they resettled in the United States to support the family. Cho said his father taught him to “take pride in everything you do.” All work is honorable, and hard work will take you far. Cho continued: “this award is really for my mom and dad.” Cho’s speech underlined the tremendous courage it takes to rebuild your life, but also the many ways new Americans strengthen the fabric of our nation.
Because of your support through ticket purchases, sponsorships, and tributes, LIRS raised over $376,000 to support our work with refugees and migrants. In this, our 75th year, you have helped LIRS ask, “who can we help next?”