Press release – Spirit of America donates dental and medical equipment, recognized by US Embassy Vietnam
On January 13, the citizen service organization Spirit of America, in collaboration with Ambassador Kritenbrink and the Defense Attaché’s office from US Embassy-Hanoi, presented a dental chair and related medical equipment funded by the American people to the Vietnam Veterans Association’s Friendship Village. Donated in recognition of the 25th anniversary of the normalization of relations between the two countries, the equipment supports the important work being conducted at Friendship Village to address the impacts of the Vietnam War by caring for veterans and disabled youth. Twenty-five years ago, both nations committed to face the legacies of war together. Today, Vietnam and America are trusted partners with a friendship grounded in mutual respect. Nothing has advanced the bilateral relationship more than cooperation on that shared legacy.
With the Embassy’s goal for the United States to be a vital partner in supporting the development of a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam, Ambassador Kritenbrink stated in his remarks, “We are here in a spirit of friendship, mutual respect, and reconciliation. We are honored to be Vietnam’s friend and are committed to its success now and in the future.” The Ambassador went on to highlight the importance of people-to-people engagement, stating, “Building a partnership requires work on the part of both governments and both militaries, but it also requires hard work and a spirit of friendship between our two peoples. It’s a really beautiful story to see how two former adversaries can become friends.”
Following the ribbon cutting, Spirit of America Chief Operating Officer Isaac Eagan emphasized the importance of that friendship, indicating, “This donation is designed to build upon our shared legacy of reconciliation – a legacy that sets a powerful example for the rest of the world – by strengthening the bonds that connect our two countries. We are pleased to support an organization that is doing such critical work, and we hope this donation serves as a demonstration of the partnership between the American and Vietnamese people.”
The dental chair donation was the fulfillment of a promise made during US Secretary of Defense Esper’s visit to Hanoi last November. Along with an initial donation of hygiene, educational, and cooking supplies to the facility, during a meeting with the Vietnam Veterans Association and Deputy Chief of Mission Caryn McClelland, Spirit of America pledged $15,000 for medical equipment for Friendship Village. McClelland termed this pledge a “tangible demonstration” of the friendship between the United States and Vietnam that complemented the high-level discussions between Secretary Esper and his Vietnamese counterparts. It was one more contribution to a US-Vietnam relationship that is today stronger than ever before.
This project was designed to support US Embassy-Hanoi’s legacy of war cooperation with Vietnam, which consists of the following five pillars, including: veterans exchanges, dioxin remediation, addressing unexploded ordnance, providing assistance to persons with disabilities, and locating those missing in action during the war on all sides. Events like this one demonstrate the power of our veterans-to-veterans ties. In the spirit of trust and mutual respect, we strive to be honest about the past while working together to build a better future for the next generation. Spirit of America is a citizen-funded private charity that works alongside US troops and diplomats to deliver the goodwill of the American people, addressing local needs and strengthening critical partnerships around the world. Since 2003, Spirit of America has worked in more than 75 countries.