I grew up in the 60’s during the Vietnam war. I have felt drawn to S.E. Asia for many years and feel this journey will allow me to honor all whose lives were dramatically changed by that terrible time. I am delighted to have as paddle partners my lawyer whose legal wisdom has been most helpful over the years, my physical therapist who helped me learn to walk after knee replacement surgery and my former student who now guides his own flock.
Dave Ellingson has taught courses in spirituality, environmental ethics, human development, and youth ministry at Trinity Lutheran College in Everett, Wash. He is a Lutheran pastor, Master Gardner, former distance runner and triathlete, is married and the father of five grown children. He resides in Edmonds, Wash.
I am a living testimony of miracles constantly abounding. My name is Tom Glasoe and I am a Lutheran pastor currently ministering to three congregations in Pennsylvania. The fact that I am a pastor at all should be considered a miracle.
I was born on the streets of Saigon, Vietnam, in the closing days of the Vietnam War. I was found abandoned and brought to a nearby orphanage. From then on, the remaining days of my life in Vietnam consisted of nuns as my caretakers and walls defining my world. I was raised by a group of nuns.
When I turned eight years old, I outgrew the nun’s resources and expertise and was transferred to a state-run orphanage, Thu Duc, on the outskirts of Saigon. I was only there for three months but encountered terrible treatment and deep-seated resentment from the other orphans. These orphans were at Thu Duc as a result (directly or indirectly) of the Vietnam War.
In the fall of 1982, President Reagan signed into law an act that allowed unaccompanied minors from countries that were affected by the Vietnam War to emigrate to the United States quicker. I arrived in frigid Minnesota 363 days after Reagan signed the Act and I started my American life.
I grew up in Minneapolis in a foster family that took in four other Vietnamese children and I grew up like any normal American child. I cheered vociferously for the Vikings and Twins, prayed winter would be short and loved Prince.
All through my childhood, I always felt the hand of God was on me and I constantly heard the call into ministry. Thus, when I was in eighth grade, while watching Sister Act and saw how much fun Whoopi Goldberg was having in the church, I decided then and there to become a Lutheran pastor. I had every intention of being a pastor in Minnesota but instead, I have ministered in congregations in California (internship), Texas and Pennsylvania.
Today, I live with my awesome wife, a very active five-year-old boy and a really cute baby. Even Jesus was not as cute as my baby.
I look to explore more of my Asian heritage as I kayak down the Mekong and encounter my Vietnamese people.
I was born in Cambodia and came to the United States at age 5 when my mother and siblings fled the Khmer Rouge genocide which my journalist father, Dith Pran, uncovered and reported to the world. I have lived in San Francisco and Brooklyn. Travels have taken me to Europe and Asia, but I am proud to call the Seattle area home. I am also grateful to be living the American Dream which my parents have worked so hard for.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Binghamton University; a combined Bachelor’s of Health Sciences, a Master’s of Physical Therapy degree from Touro College, and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Temple University. I have been a Physical Therapist since 1998 and have worked in Sports Medicine, Outpatient Rehabilitation, and Home Health Care. I am the owner of Atlas Physical Therapy and Industrial Rehabilitation which was started in 2014.
I am a board member of The Dith Pran Foundation which provides scholarships to Cambodians in rural areas to attend college. The philosophy is that a more educated community makes a better world.
In my spare time I enjoy sports, the outdoors, gardening, movies and spending time with family, especially my three boys.
Friend: What are you going to do if you aren't going to practice law anymore?
Me: I'm not sure.
Friend: Aren't you at least a little scared?
Me: Of the unknown? . . Hell, that's the greatest adventure of them all . . .
40 years of practicing law, (criminal and personal injury), 25 years of raising two of the greatest kids I've ever known (my two sons), thousands of miles traveling the world, and now perhaps the greatest adventure of them all!!
Stay tuned! It's going to be wild! Here, hold my beer!