During the Vietnam War, US Army Special Forces recruited, trained and funded Special Guerilla Units (SGUs) composed of soldiers from The Kingdom of Laos.
The SGUs’ primary missions were to rescue US military pilots shot down over Vietnamese and Laotian airspace, to defend US Air Force radar installations and to interdict incursions by North Vietnamese Army units along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Col. Viengkham’s military expertise, language skills and organizational abilities led him to play a key role in training US military personnel about jungle survival skills and to handle many other medical, intelligence and communications duties.
Mary Jo Thorn has served since 2005 as Chief Executive Offi cer at ACHIEVE, a not-for-profi t agency serving hundreds of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, in Broome and Tioga Counties.
Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Ms. Thorn attended Bloomsburg State College and Marywood University where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work.
Through her over 30 years in human services, including extensive work in mental health, developmental disabilities, crisis intervention, and children and family services, Ms. Thorn has devoted her life to helping those who may be less fortunate.