For various reasons, many of the Southeast Asians who were uprooted by war landed in this city, a place they’ve adopted as a second home where they feel welcome, says Vanmala Phongsavan.
In a low-key ceremony at the Cumberland Street fire station on Wednesday, Phongsavan and other prominent members of the Laotian-American community gathered to offer public safety officials a $2,000 expression of gratitude.
A check for the sum was turned over to Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt by members of the Watlao Xoke Xayyaram Buddhist Temple, 458 River St., for the benefit of the Woonsocket fire and police departments. “It’s their way of saying ‘thank you’ for the public safety officials of the City of Woonsocket,” said saffron-robed Bounthavy Vansiripanyo, president of the Watlao Temple.
The temple has comparatively few regular members, but roughly once a month several hundred Loatians and others who trace their roots to various Southeast Asian countries assemble at the place of worship for gatherings steeped in cultural traditions.