Sonia Johnston, who arrived in the U.S. in the 1970s following the fall of South Vietnam, settled in the Northern Virginia area and became a powerhouse in the local banking industry over her four-decade career, recently was inducted into the Arlington Business Hall of Fame, an initiative of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
In remarks, Johnston gave thanks to the community and all those who helped her journey along the way.
Her full remarks are below.
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It is a great honor to be part of this wonderful and incredible event tonight.
First and foremost, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to those who nominated me for this honor. This is beyond my wildest expectations. It is an amazing feeling to be included as part of an outstanding community and business leaders in Arlington.
I would like to thank the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, as well as Kate Bates and her wonderful team for all their hard work and continued support.
It is a great honor to have my family here with me this evening. Thank you so much for your love. I could not have done it without you standing by my side.
I cannot believe that someone like me, a refugee from Vietnam, who came to America with absolutely nothing, not knowing the language and the culture, to accomplish all the things that I have done. I AM THE AMERCAN DREAM!!!
I have been extremely lucky and fortunate to have all these opportunities given to me to learn these skills to be successful in the banking community. I can’t imagine doing anything else that I would love this much for the past 40-plus years.
As a child growing up in Vietnam, my father taught me the realities of life, the good and bad. He always said to stand up for what you believe in. Be true to yourself and others. Never cheat and always strive to be the very best that you can possible be.
He also believed that your reputation is the most important thing in your life. It is something that you earned; it is not given to you; you cannot buy it. Once you achieve it, you must maintain it. It will define who you are.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again let me express my gratitude. I am so proud, honored and grateful to be recognized for my contribution to this outstanding community.
Thank you for this amazing honor, and I hope everyone has a wonderful evening.