|A bridge, built by Phung, in Tam Phu commune, Tam Ky city.
80-year-old Phung riding his motorbike in search of a new place to build a bridge has become a familiar sight in Tam Ky city.
Phung, a war veteran with a disabled right arm, says his greatest joy is seeing his bridges being put to use.
He recalled, “I used to see local people traveling daily across dangerous and inconvenient makeshift bridges. So I started spending my money to build bridges, at least four per year. I promised my children, my friends, and my fallen comrades that, as long as my health allows, I will continue to work for the people and contribute to society.”
In the past 5 years, 30 bridges have been built. They were named Phung Hiep 1 to 28, which is the name of Phung and one of his best friends, who also contributed to the construction.
|Nguyen Dinh Phung (third from left) is honored at a bridge hand-over ceremony.
Phung was pleased that 30 bridges were completed and put into use on the occasion of major national holidays. Phung Hiep 28 was operational on the occasion of President Ho Chi Minh's 132nd birthday (May 19, 2022).
Duong Thi Nhan, a resident of Tam Ky city, said, “The old bridge was too narrow, weak, and difficult to cross. Now we can travel more easily, thanks to Phung. We’re very happy.”
In addition to donating money to build bridges, since 2014 Phung has participated in several other social activities.
Nguyen Quang Vinh, head of Ngoc My village, Tam Phu commune, Tam Ky city, said, “When Phung came here to ask for permission to build bridges in the area, I advised him to contact businesses to raise money, but he said his family wanted to pay for the bridges. I was touched by his altruism. He mobilizes workers and directly supervises their work to ensure the quality of the bridges.”
Phung’s wife, Huynh Thi Thu, says she and Phung went through many tough times during the war.
As a result they cherish peace and want to contribute to others as much as they can. Thu says they receive a pension of 650 USD per month, and save as much as they can to build bridges.
“My husband is getting older, so every time he goes out looking for a new place to build a bridge, I worry. He was in a traffic accident once before. But seeing the bridges being built makes me very happy and makes me want to support my husband in building more bridges and doing more social activities,” said Thu.
Since his retirement, Phung has continued to participate in the Veterans Association of An Xuan ward, Tam Ky city.
Do Van Thuong, the Association’s Chairman, said, “Phung does everything from his heart, without expecting anything in return. He wants to contribute and finds ways to better local people’s lives, which we admire a lot.”