San Jose police officer Huan Nguyen’s generosity has exceeded even his own expectations. On May 6, Phuoc Hong Long Lam was gunned down in San Jose following a traffic incident involving two suspects. Lam left a wife and two children behind, striking a cord with the SJPD officer.
Nguyen said he felt a “need to chip in and help” the family because he shares similar roots. He and the victim’s family are both Vietnamese. They’re both from San Jose. And both have two kids.
The officer set up an online fundraising page, which has now raised more than $100,000 for Lam’s family. The total has reportedly broken the city’s record for money raised from a police effort, according to the Police Officers Association.
In a time when crime is rising and police officers are fleeing the department in droves for higher paying jobs and benefits, Nguyen’s gesture is the kind of positive PR that can’t be summed up in a press release.
Deputy Chief Phan Ngo told the Mercury News that Nguyen’s work with the family is part of a “tradition” of SJPD officers “extending themselves beyond the call of duty.”
Dieu Hien Thi Huynh, Lam’s widow, has no job, no family in the US, and little ability to speak English. Her family’s future was uncertain, but now she’s receiving donations up to $1,000, with benefactors from as far as London. The money pledged will go toward a trust fund for her children, Huynh said.
Nguyen’s new goal is to raise $150,000. He has never organized a fundraiser prior to this one, he said, but his story has spread across the nation, with the Associated Press and Washington Post running articles about his goodwill. Huynh said that she is “speechless” about how many people have helped the family in this time of need and vows to “value it and treasure it.”