Our HistoryBuilt for war but used for love and compassion
Mr Vinh Tran started the Military Vehicle Organisation. He started it because the Vietnam War 1962-75 was very costly and the toll it took on the Vietnamese people. After the US withdrawal, millions of Vietnamese refugees attempted to flee by boat. Vinh Tran’s sister was one of those refugees. Fast forward to the present, Vinh found a unique way to use the relics of war for a greater good. He would bring army jeeps to Australia to raise awareness and support a charity that helps war affected orphaned children in Vietnam, such as food, medical supplies and support.
Vinh came to Australia searching for prosperity and safety after the devastation wrought on his country from the Vietnam War. Vinh’s eldest sister was first to make the perilous journey along with millions of refugees fleeing the aftermath of the war. Her journey by boat began in 1979, four years after Vietnamese Independence and US withdrawal. After 6 attempts by boat she finally made it to Indonesia and was eventually sponsored to come to Australia. She brought her entire family here 8 years later.
Vietnam is a beautiful country with equally picturesque cities. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) are regular tourist destinations for travellers. But once you start to explore further on from the city limits; what some call the ‘outskirts’, you begin to see the harsh realities of life for a people forgotten. The elderly, alone and weak, children poor and lost, the sick and disabled affected by the grip of an old war that seems unrelenting. The farmers still tend the fields of rice paddies but agriculture is no longer what it used to be for this place and support is scarce.
Despite the despair of disregard, these people wouldn’t give up. Neighbours help neighbours and communities help their people. Vinh always felt he had to be part of this. He wanted to help by giving hope, love and bringing awareness to these people, his people.
That’s why, with the invaluable help of Son Go Vap - a man who made Vinh’s dream of bringing the army jeeps to Australia a reality - Vinh was able to give back to his country by helping those who needed it most. Vinh raises awareness by driving his jeeps around Sydney (the big Gate in Chinatown is a regular spot you might find him on the weekend) and hiring them out to raise funds for a very good cause.
Written by Scott James - a Sydney based blogger and freelance writer on current affairs, local issues and general news & opinion. Learn more at On the Ground news.