When First Lady Michelle Obama went to Cambodia in March to launch her “Let Girls Learn” initiative, dozens of secret service agents went with her.
One of them was Leuth Oun, a Cambodian-American agent who has been with the Secret Service for the past 15 years.
In an interview with VOA Khmer recently, Leuth Oun said the trip inspired him to find his own way to help Cambodia.
“My goal is to come back,” he said during the trip. “I want to bring my knowledge and skills to pass them on to the young people of Cambodia.”
Born in Battambang province, Leuth Oun survived the Khmer Rouge regime, losing several members of his family, including his father, to the regime. He escaped with his mother and sister to Thailand and lived there a few years before resettling in Philadelphia in 1983.
He went to college, graduated, and worked as a corrections officer before becoming a Secret Service agent in 2002. He encouraged Cambodian youth to work hard and to be unafraid to have dreams.
“You have to persevere,” he said. “You don’t know the future. You may be a beggar, but in the future you may become president, or a general. Work hard, and one day your work will pay off.”