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Nguyen Hoa Hoc - Vietnam

In 1978, 18-year-old Hoc joined the Army, first as a cook and then as a medic. While giving first aid to a wounded soldier, Hoc was seriously injured by a large bomb that exploded nearby. The blast of the bomb knocked Hoc unconscious. When he regained consciousness a week later, he realized he was alive, but his legs had been amputated.

After receiving medical treatment at a local hospital, Hoc was referred to a rehabilitation service center. “I had to practice walking every day,” recounted Hoc. “I felt like a child learning to walk all over again.” When he returned to his home in Quang Tri, Hoc was very sad and did not know how he was going to earn a living. In 1983, five years after his accident, was able to buy a small boat and soon began fishing for in the ocean every night. When he returned from fishing at dawn, his mother would help Hoc dry the fish, and then take the fish to the market to sell.

In 1992, Hoc established a small business for people with disabilities, selling products from the sea. The business provided jobs for 40 people with disabilities and their families. By 1995, Hoc had established a manufacturing company, the "Quang Tri’s People With Disability Limited Company", and had more than 100 employees on his staff.

Ever the sports enthusiast, Hoc continued to play sports with other people with disabilities in his town. He earned a bronze medal in the shooting competition in the first Vietnam Olympic Festival for people with disabilities. At the second Olympic Festival in 2002, Hoc won gold medals in both the javelin and weightlifting (in a wheelchair) competitions.

Hoc wanted to find a way to help fellow amputees while continuing his participation in sports. In 2002, he closed his manufacturing business and opened a sports club for people with disabilities. The club boasted 40 members whom all practiced sports together regularly. In April 2003, Hoc won a gold medal in wheelchair badminton at the Olympic Festival.

Hoc is now married with three children. Hired by LSN in 2003, Hoc says that he loves his job as the Director of LSN-Vietnam because he enoys helping other people with disabilities. He still practices sports regularly, and in December 2003, won a silver medal in the weight-lifting in a wheelchair event, and bronze medal in the javelin at the ASEAN ParaGames.

View the next profile: Hoang Van Luong

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