|Meeting of minds: Labour Hero Tran Hong Quang talks with General Vo Nguyen Giap in a meeting of war invalids. — File Photos
|Award winner: Quang (third from left) set up a War Invalid Collective Plant, which has given jobs to more than 300 people.
Veteran Tran Hong Quang is director of a State-owned enterprise and one of the youngest delegates to attend the World Young Farmers Conference. He received the Labour Hero Award for his contribution to the nation. Do Phu Tho
In 1971, Tran Hong Quang volunteered for the army during the fiercest period of the Anti-American War. Leaving his hometown of Hai Phong City's Vinh Bao District along with other young men, Quang was sent to the battlefield and fought in the Ho Chi Minh Campaign (1974-75) to liberate South Viet Nam.
Unfortunately, he was seriously wounded which led to serious health issues. Although he was offered nursing, he decided to go home on his own.
With his parents' support, Quang bounced back from his wounds and quickly returned to normal life. He attended a local school and later became a public employee. In the early 90s, he was assigned to be the deputy director of the Hai Phong Grocery Company.
At that time, rumour had it in Hai Phong that there were many veterans who returned to their community upset with their unemployment. "I accepted my life the way it was, I just worked properly, and then I got money and a title. Still, I could not stand watching my comrades suffer, so I thought I had to do something to help them," says Quang.
After nights of consideration, Quang decided to resign from his position as deputy director. With the prestige that he had earned previously, he gathered 35 fellows back home to set up the Quang Minh War Invalids Collective Enterprise. Together they were supported with VND35 million (US$1.664) from the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs to create a new production model.
Although Quang is the director of an enterprise which employs of 300 workers, he still calls himself a farmer, and sometimes smells of pipe tobacco. He recalls the story when he passed Quang Ninh Province's Hoanh Bo District on an assignment and saw many people selling their shrimp ponds because all their shrimp were dead.
Several studies that pollution had killed the shrimp . He immediately came up with a new way of shrimp farming by reducing the quantity of shrimp in the ponds and feeding them less, as well as pumping water from natural sources into each pond. Soon after, his shrimp flourished in their new environment and brought huge profits for the farmers. His project caught the eyes of many.
After that, nothing blocked his way. Quang and his co-workers continued to develop their scientific methods. Thanks to good results, the hard-working veteran was chosen as one of Viet Nam's delegates to take part in the World Conference for Young Farmers organised by FAO in Paris. Here, he met former president Jacques Chirac.
Returning from France, Quang started a new project at Truong Son Cement Factory. "The factory belongs to those who shed blood on the battlefield; it is a debt that we are willing to pay to our beloved comrades. After it is completed, we would like to give free cement to the invalids' families, and give a 5-10 per cent discount for other factory's production," he adds.
From his first VND300 million, the Quang Minh collective enterprise now has thousands of billions of dong and provides jobs for more than 300 people, 52 per cent of whom are invalids.
"To be director of an enterprise in the time of a market economy, most people certainly want to have a group of skilled staff. I am the opposite. I have refused well-trained labour to maintain my workforce comprised of the families of invalids. This is my effort to fulfil the wish of my departed comrades: giving jobs to their children. Ideally, after being taken in, they would be carefully trained for the job".
Having experienced many ups and downs, Quang has successfully built a collective model and created jobs for hundreds. He also uses terracotta kilns instead of their firewood counterparts, which helps to reduce pollution.
In 2004, Quang was chosen as one of the top ten outstanding people in Hai Phong City. But unlike other people, he is quite humble with the title. "I still think about my old comrades who have sacrificed themselves for the nation's independence. As long as I live, I will do anything to fulfil their wishes," Quang smiles. — VNS