Iowans Open Their Hearts

Former Iowa Governor Robert Ray discusses Iowa's response to the Tai Dam refugees in 1975.


I was so proud of my state. People just welcomed these people that were… who were going to lose their lives if they didn't find a home. It was a tragic situation and Iowans just stepped forward and they opened their arms and their hearts and they said, “We want to help.” And over the years I don't know how many people have told me it was the greatest experience of their lives. Their family would have the opportunity to help other people and there is great satisfaction in that. And I've used this as an example where if you help others for the right reason you'll be richly rewarded and we've been richly rewarded. We've had people here become Iowans—offering diversity—who have provided jobs for others, who have given us intellectual stimulus. Every spring at graduation time you'll notice the valedictorians have a Vietnamese name and these people are hard-working and great contributors and they have given our economy a boost.

A Promise Called Iowa

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