Our guest speaker this month was Mr. Thanh Campbell who lives in Hamilton and operates three businesses in addition to his speaking career. He sits on a number of boards including McMaster Children’s Hospital new Health Centre, and the Hamilton Media Arts Council. Mr Campbell will also be launching two new internet TV shows that he will host, Hope for the World and Ambitious City.
Thanh was born in Viet Nam in 1973 and came to Canada in 1975 as “Orphan 32” with 56 other orphans as part of the last flight out of Saigon. He was adopted by a family of seven in Cambridge, Ontario. They moved to Woodstock, New Brunswick and later to Hamilton, Ontario. He completed his education at Redeemer University College in Ancaster.
Thanh described the transport of 57 children, aged three months to nine years, from Saigon Airport in a military Hercules C-130 to Hong Kong, then a Canadian Pacific commercial flight to Vancouver, then an Air Canada flight to Toronto.
He wrote a book titled “Orphan 32” about his experiences with the title referring to the fact that he was the 32nd orphan loaded on the plane. In 2004 he met Trent Kilner, another orphan from that same flight and together they tracked down most of the other children from that 1975 flight and held a reunion in Ontario.
A featured article with his photo appeared in the Toronto Star and was picked up by a Vietnamese newspaper and that resulted in his father recognizing the story and contacting Thanh in Canada. DNA testing proved the relationship. Thanh, his Canadian-born wife and four children, along with his adopted father and two translators, travelled to Viet Nam in 2009 to meet his biological family. A short, emotional video titled “No Need to Say Goodbye” showed several photos of the family together.
More information about Thanh and his book, which was published in 2013 by Hope for the World Productions, is available on line at http://www.orphan32.com/ .
Our speaker for our July monthly meeting will be Keith Pitts, author of The Canadian Cross-Border Shopping Guide, and a long-time researcher into the disparities between prices north and south of the border.