Opening your own business is part of the American dream, the ideal for which equal opportunity is available to any American. That dream has also attracted aspiring entrepreneurs from around the world. The Cape Cod and Plymouth region is full of many of these successful entrepreneurs who came to the area from other countries. As we celebrate Independence Day, we take a look at their journeys.
New England Wellness Solutions Inc.
Hanover, Weymouth, Mass.; Newport, Vt.
Jimmy Chung Duong was just a toddler when his parents and his six siblings left Vietnam in 1986, part of the “boat people” exodus. It took three years for the family to arrive in the U.S., after surviving 28 days in the South China Sea, heading to Macau, where a British ship picked them up.
“We were running away from the Vietnam War, not chasing the American dream,” Duong is quick to explain. “We were casualties of war. We had no food. Agent Orange had wiped out all the crops. My father built the boat that carried us.”
But Duong is, in fact, living the American dream. After graduating from college, he was hired by Johnson & Johnson as a financial analyst. “But it wasn’t my career path,” he said. “I wanted to make a difference and not just do numbers.”
Duong was increasingly drawn to helping people more than making profits for a corporation. Interested in drawing on his roots in Eastern medicine, he returned to school and obtained Board Certified as a clinician in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. He is president and CEO of his own company, New England Wellness Solutions Inc., managed by his brother. Jimmy Duong is taking on cases for the first time in four years ( “Difficult cases only please.”)
Educating Americans who are so entrenched in Western medicine has been a process, but Duong has found that due to the Internet and the availability of information, more people are open to explore alternative therapies such as acupuncture and cupping therapy instead of relying solely on drugs when their pain management has reached an impasse.
“We inspire hope for families, for people who cannot get free of pain,” he said. “Every person who walks through the door has a dose of skepticism. It’s often their last option. Patients often don’t see other options, they are not given. Your health is so complicated, but you are in charge of it.”
Duong has returned to Vietnam several times, mainly to visit his grandmother, who died a few years ago at age 105.
“Our life is so different from a typical American because of what we went through,” Duong reflected. “We’re so blessed to be here and we value everything. Just having a meal together is a blessing.”
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