Vu Nguyen Memorial Scholarship Foundation
A California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation

Organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501(c)(3)
Your donation is tax-deductible.  You will receive your 501(c)(3) receipt shortly after making your donation, and your name will be added to our honor roll page.

Vu's Story

On April 29, 1975, when Vu was only five years old, he and his family escaped Vietnam via helicopter airlift from the American Embassy in Saigon. Vu’s father had to individually bike each one of his children many miles to the airlift for safety. Due to enemy fire upon the helicopter, the airlift was terminated making Vu’s family one of the final flights of the evacuation. Vu and his family considered their lives blessed ever since.  

Vu's family moved to the United States after the evacuation, eventually settling in Modesto, California.  Growing up in West Modesto- a neighborhood that struggles with the plagues of gangs, drugs, and violence- Vu was able to make the most out of the opportunities he had.

He was an honor student at Modesto High School, Modesto Junior College, and at CSU Sacramento. While at the Sacramento Sheriff Academy, he won three of the four annual awards for his recruit class. He was talented and truly could have been anything in life, and chose a life in law enforcement. Often his friends would ask, "why law enforcement?" with his response invariably being, "I want to repay a debt I owe to the country that saved my family and I."  Vu repaid that debt by being the ultimate professional in his career as a deputy detective with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

On December, 19th 2007, while assigned to the Sacramento County Sheriff Department's elite Gang Suppression Unit, Vu and his partner were patrolling a community hit hard by gang violence. As they came up to a known gang house, a subject standing outside of the house ran when Detective Nguyen's vehicle approached.  A foot pursuit ensued. The chase took Vu and the suspect through yards and over fences.  The suspect, who had a lead on Vu, jumped a fence and hid in a back yard.  Ambushing Detective Nguyen, the suspect shot Vu three times.  Detective Nguyen was found later by his partner, and was rushed to U.C. Davis Medical center where doctors tried in vain to save Vu's life.  The sense of duty and service that guided his life defined his death.  His lifelong debt had been repaid in the ultimate way.

A massive manhunt followed.  Law enforcement agencies throughout the area joined the Sacramento Sheriff's Department in their search for Vu's murderer.  When found, the killer turned out to be a 16-year-old Asian gang member with a troubled past.  

This individual has since been tried and convicted of the murder that took Vu from us.  He will spend the rest of his life in prison.  We will spend the rest of our lives trying to fill the void that this tragedy brought by honoring Vu's memory and life through our foundation.  


We honor Vu's life by promoting the ideals that he lived by to California's at-risk youths.  Will you help us in honoring the memory of a man who epitomizes what it means to be a "true American Hero?"

Please make a donation to help us honor Detective Vu Nguyen.
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