Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Community shows amazing generosity

To the editor:

The Friendship Force of Whidbey Island, Chris Williams and I would like to thank everyone who participated in the fundraising for the Friendship Peace Library to be built in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. Funds came in from as far away as Santo Angelo, Brazil, Langley, B.C., and around the United States.

A very special thanks goes to Chung Tran, owner and chef of the Basil Café, and his staff who offered the Basil Café for two very successful fundraising events for the library. We are very fortunate to have such generous people as Chung Tran and his family in our community. I hope everyone will make an effort to support the restaurant, the Basil Café, and dine on the delicious food served there.

The Friendship Peace Library project has reached the goal of $18,200 and construction of the library has begun. The library will serve as a landmine and unexploded ordnance education center for the people, and especially the children, of this region. It will serve as a community center as well as a place for the indigenous people to learn to read and write Vietnamese.

Quang Tri Province, the size of King County, was the hardest hit of all provinces during the Vietnam War. More bombs were dropped in this area than all the combined wars. Today they still feel the affects of the war with nearly three people per day being harmed or killed by unexploded ordnance and landmines.

The Friendship Peace Library Project was a team effort of the Friendship Force of Whidbey Island and PeaceTrees Vietnam, who will oversee the completion of the library.

PeaceTrees Vietnam is a non-governmental organization based both on Bainbridge Island and in Quang Tri. Its focus is to educate about landmine dangers, clear land and make it useful for the local people.

A trip is now forming to return to Vietnam on Sept. 15, 2009 to dedicate the library. We will plant trees, stock book shelves and do other essential work to make the library a center for the community.

If anyone is interested in traveling to Vietnam on this worthwhile trip, please contact Laura Strehlau at 2dognite@whidbey.com.

Again, thank you to all who participated in raising funds for this very important project. The generosity of our south Whidbey Island community is amazing!

Laura Strehlau


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