Phu Nguyen was born on October 13, 1940, in Vietnam. He grew up in Vietnam, and in 1962 was drafted into the South Vietnamese army. Nguyen served for six years and then decided to work for the U.S. embassy. After the Fall of Saigon, he narrowly escaped being imprisoned in communist reeducation camps. In 1992, Nguyen moved to the United States to be with his family. Initially, he lived in Sunnyvale, California but later moved to Portland for work and to be near his children. In Portland, Nguyen worked as an interpreter for Portland Public Schools and has been president of the Vietnamese Senior Association of Oregon (VSAO) for fifteen years.
In this interview, Phu Nguyen discusses his life in Vietnam, coming to the United States, and the various Portland-based organizations and communities in which he participates. He discusses how he came to live in Portland, his work at Portland Public Schools and Adventist Medical Center, and adjusting to life in the U.S. He also talks about the Vietnamese community in Portland and the various community organizations he is a part of, including the Vietnamese Seniors Association of Oregon (VSAO) and the Vietnamese Community of Oregon (VNCO). He concludes the interview by encouraging younger generations of Vietnamese Americans to learn Vietnamese and become involved with the community.