Hmong community dedicates new statue to Gen. Vang Pao

FRESNO, Calif.

"We first built the first statue with a short time and it was not looking very much like him so we tried to build a second one, larger with the support of The Big Fresno Fair," Lao Family Community of Fresno Executive Director Pao Fang said.

The change was commissioned by various Hmong groups in the community after they received feedback saying the first statue did not resemble the likeness of their leader. Chineng Vang, Gen. Vang Pao's youngest son says his family is happy with the changes and hopes the monument continues to serve as a teaching tool.

"It's an educational piece that will teach future generations about not just the Hmong Americans, but who general Vang Pao was, why we are here today," Vang said.

The new 6-foot statue was made in the Valley by Richard Deaver's company Monster Center Studios. He says the Vang family and other groups from the community were very involved in the creative process.

"What changes were made? This is all concrete, the other one, I think it was a coated foam, if I am not mistaken, and it was much smaller," President of Monster Center Studios, Rchard Deaver said.

After the unveiling ceremony was over members of the Hmong community had the opportunity to approach the statue and leave a rose as a tribute to Gen. Vang Pao.

Chineng says the community's display of honor and respect is a humbling experience for the family, reminding them of the need to keep his father's legacy alive.

"We're going to continue to carry on what my father preached, about unity and respect for one another and to bring integration into a community as we assimilate here in America," Vang said.

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