Vu's father, Chuyen Van Nguyen (pictured below, far right), remembers his son and thanks those keeping his memory alive:
"During the 60 years of my life, I've seen a lot of death, I've read a lot about death, I've heard a lot about death — especially about the death of a family member — but never have I ever imagined losing a loved one can be this dreadful and painful until God dealt me with this almost unbearable tragedy.
Ever since my son Vu passed away of a heart attack while playing soccer with friends on Mother's Day 2009, besides the pain he left behind to his wife, Heather; his mother, NgocThuy; his only brother, Viet (pictured left); Viet's wife, Carie; his relatives, friends and colleagues, Vu seemed to have taken a good chunk of me with him — a part that includes every single vital element of my body.
In particular, Vu left a big hole in my heart that I don't think can ever be filled until the day I die. Not only that, things around me don't make any more sense to me since Vu is no longer around to be a part of this life. Oh my God, I miss my son so very much!
I have been trying my best to put on a face of a strong man, a tough image. But inside of me, I have been a walking wounded man and getting that close to not being able to make it. Now, I realize I have to live, to be a resilient column of the family, to team up with my wife and all of those who love Vu to keep Vu's passion for journalism alive as Vu would have liked it. When Vu was awarded with the scholarship to attend the Public Affairs Reporting program at the University of Illinois Springfield, I remember seeing his life made an important turn for the better.
The best thing that Vu was very happy about is that he got his dream in journalism fulfilled. Even though he knew the profession that he loved since his high school days was not as prosperous as someone would like to see, Vu still loved it because he thought the master's degree from UIS would help him to serve the purposes in his life. Ever since he started writing, Vu had always been adamant about giving a voice to those who didn't have one. He hoped with his pen — or a computer today — he could make a difference in peoples' lives.
Now since Vu is no longer with us, I believe Vu is looking at us from somewhere and hopes that his passion for journalism continues to be alive and well. And with the scholarship in his memory being awarded every year to the most qualified applicant, the spirit of true journalism will remain strong and flourish in a society where the press plays a very important role in giving a voice to those who don't have one.
On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all of those who have worked so hard to make this scholarship opportunity possible and to those who contribute to keep the memory of Vu Nguyen, as he was known by many (or his byline the Vietnamese way, "Nguyen Huy Vu" when he wrote), alive for years to come.
Chuyen Van Nguyen, Retired
34th District Representative
California State Senate"
Heather Hua, Vu's wife of six months, also shares her thoughts on the scholarship and its importance:
"My name is Heather Hua and I'm Vu Nguyen's wife. Journalism was Vu's life, and he strived to give a voice to those who had none. He had dreams of teaching journalism, and a week before his death, he was offered an intern teaching position at Los Angeles Community College.
This scholarship is important to Vu and his legacy because it has
always been his dream to make a difference in the lives of others; particularly, those with dreams of becoming the voice of
Vu's life was full of struggles, and he faced many obstacles in his
journey to achieve his dreams. However, he never let these obstacles prevent him from achieving all that he has accomplished through hard work and determination. From his life, he taught us all a valuable lesson — to pick yourself up after any of life's
challenges or stumbles and move forward to achieve your dreams.
Vu passed on at the peak of his achievements, and through this
scholarship, his dreams and legacy will continue to live on to inspire and help others pursue journalism as a career.
I would also like to thank the University of Illinois - Springfield and
his classmates for sponsoring and coordinating this scholarship in my
Heather Hua, Esq.
Deputy Attorney General
Department of Justice
State of California"