DES MOINES, Iowa — Trang Pham has been with the Iowa National Guard since 2010 and is still on active duty. She realized early on that she wanted to leave her mark by serving others. She recounts how her parents brought her, and her two siblings from Vietnam to live in the United States. She remembers her parents took her to visit Camp Dodge where she saw the monuments to people who had served.

“Since I was like seven years old and I just want to do something more,” said Pham. ”We just came over from Vietnam I was seven years old and barely spoke English but I kind of knew that it was something important.”

Pham credits her time in the National Guard for really helping her to improve her life. 

“That’s why I’m still in the military that’s why I am extremely proud to wear the uniform,” said Pham. “When I was 17, I was lost, and the military gave me a purpose, they gave me guidance and they gave me peers to rely on that continue to grow me as a person.”

Her passion now is to develop as a leader in the National Guard, and in other areas.

“To be a leader, is opportunity to shape young minds, to shape the future of the leaders tomorrow,” said Pham. “For me for me as you know the definition of it, will just be to continue to provide the purpose of direction for our young leaders.”

Pham also spent some time working as a paramedic for the City of Des Moines. She was encouraged to take training for that job after some Des Moines paramedics helped her when her daughter had a medical issue. She trained for the job, and worked with the Des Moines Fire Department for a time before taking her current job with the Iowa National Guard at Camp Dodge. She also founded a business called The Egg Roll Ladies. 

“I have the Egg Roll Ladies and that is a for-profit business, that’s what I tell all my customers,” said Pham.  “I have a nonprofit group that I’m founder of called We Are More Foundation, and those two partner so we hold like private cooking classes for an a percentage of the profits gets donated towards that.”

Pham said she is so thankful to all the people who have helped her.

“I wouldn’t be where I was today without my community,” said Pham. “I don’t know if I would consider myself a service-oriented person just because I feel like all I’m doing is giving back the life that I was given graciously to me.”