Heroes come from all walks of life. We feel that Cherie Clark is a hero in that she has made, and continues to work towards, greater humanity and a better quality of life for the impoverished. During the Vietnam War, from 1974 until the final hours of the fall of Saigon in 1975, Cherie Clark and her staff of fifteen nurses and volunteers worked feverishly around the clock to find adoptive homes for hundreds of war orphans. Cherie and her staff lived and worked in Vietnam when U.S. support for the war was deteriorating, as was concern for the fate of the Vietnamese. Focusing primarily on the warís political and militaristic issues, the press and the government said little about the welfare of those most unable to say anything for themselves - the war orphans. Cherieís work centered around helping these children escape from the ravaged country of Vietnam and settle in adoptive homes.

Whether battling with the bureaucracies of America and Vietnam, or penetrating deep inside war zones to bring much needed supplies to faraway orphanages, Cherie passionately followed her calling with great perseverance and courage. Her devotion to children often overshadowed her fear of injury or death. It wasn't entirely unusual for Cherie to argue with an armed soldier, or to drive through a firefight while delivering supplies. These attributes were put to the test during the evacuation of Saigon's orphans during Operation Babylift, and after the fall of Saigon, when she hired a charter plane to take her back into fallen Saigon. Throughout her more recent work, moreover, Cherie consistently matches this earlier profile.

Through her past and present work Cherie has made a lasting impression on civil rights, tolerance, humanity and quality of life. She fought for the civil rights of the greatest victims of war - the innocent orpahans. She pushed for tolerance in Western society by accepting the lost Vietnamese children of mixed or Asian origin. Above all, Cherie sought to improve the quality of life of such orphans, who surely would have died or suffered under the control of the Communists. The legacy of her work is present in the many doctors, engineers and of the world, who once had been brought away from the war-torn country of Vietnam by Cherie Clark. Cherie's work ensured their survival, guaranteeing not only the continuance of their lives but also ensuring the vitality and spread of Vietnamese culture and heritage.

Cherie's work is doubly significant for the fact that she rose out of such harsh conditions during her childhood to become what she is now. As a high school dropout, and later as a midwestern housewife, it used to seem impossible that she should ever become a nurse, much less an internationally acclaimed care worker. Interestingly, her ability to help others will leave a similar legacy; her former charges, now living in the United States, had similar reversals in their fates.

 

Stephen's Reflections

 
Minh's Reflections
Background Information


About This Web Site History of FCVN
History of IMH
History of IMH-VN
Vietnam War
"Boat People"
The Fall of Saigon
The Fall of Da Nang
Legacy