Rio Rancho’s Tina Diep is truly a humanitarian ambassador.
The daughter of a Vietnamese woman she’s never known and an American serviceman she didn’t know until she was 45 has come a long way since being born in Vietnam 51 years ago.
Diep’s story is an amazing sidebar to the Vietnam War, as told in a June 17 article by Journal reporter Ollie Reed Jr.
Given up by her natural mother during the war, Diep went from the hospital to a Vietnamese couple who raised her. She lived with her adoptive parents in Vietnam until they moved to the United States when Diep was 15.
With the help of her husband and ancestry tests, Diep learned in 2016 that Donald “Doc” Carmichael of Rio Rancho was her biological father. Carmichael, born in Roosevelt County, served two tours in Vietnam and lived a full life before meeting Diep. But he welcomed his “newest, oldest daughter” to the family.
Soon after they met, Diep was diagnosed with severe breast cancer and had a radical double mastectomy. She’s now being treated with chemotherapy.
Diep and her husband moved to New Mexico in 2018 and co-own Pink Ribbon Nail Salon in Albuquerque. Her husband finances the nail salon, while Diep uses her earnings to travel to Vietnam as often as she can, taking money, food, clothes and supplies to the country’s orphans and impoverished. Once in Vietnam, she buys fresh produce and delivers it.
“I’m not scared to die,” Diep says. “I’m just so happy to do what I do.”
Diep plans to continue her charitable trips to Vietnam as long as she can. In doing so, she’s a bridge between the two nations that were at war 50 years ago and an inspiration to citizens of both countries. Godspeed, Tina Diep.
This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.