Quan and Nga Nguyen started Dang’s Alterations 20 years ago in the Trussville/Clay area. They quietly built a base of loyal customers while they raised a family here. Like so many small businesses, the Nguyen family closed their shop in March to shelter at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, the Nguyen family was featured on ABC3340 news when they began working 14-hour days from home to make masks and provide them free to members of the community. The family was not seeking publicity.
Their daughter Thuy Nguyen (“Twee Win”) and her brother first suggested making the masks, but they did not have sewing machines at home and initially did not realize how great the demand was. It was only when Thuy’s brother’s fiancée’s mom (in Huntsville) asked the Thuy’s parents to help sew that they decided to bring home the sewing machine and help. The Nguyens got a friend to help them load the machine onto their truck, but when they got home the kids were not home and it was too heavy to unload. So, they began sewing in the bed of the truck, and the story was just beginning.
The Nguyens were aware of the need for masks for hospital workers and first responders but were totally unaware of how great the need was in their community. The first few masks went to Huntsville hospitals and the family decided to give a few away in the community. Thuy posted the free masks on Facebook in “What’s Happening in Trussville”, and according to Thuy, that’s when everything started to blow up. She was on her phone for 11 hours for the next few days. The orders poured in, and the family has now provided thousands of masks to all who ask. As they ran out of fabric, neighbors donated more, and the family made Walmart runs for cotton print.
The family has been overwhelmed by the community responses as they heard from so many individuals how the masks freed them to go outside and take a walk.
The Nguyens have learned how one simple, kind act can go so far in another’s life and how amazing it is that this inspires others to pay it forward. Their hope for the community is that it will continue to come together to keep each other safe, as they have during COVID.
The Nguyen family exemplifies the traits and values of Vulcan. They have demonstrated the essence of servant leadership by their total focus on helping others. They are a humble, quiet family that saw and responded to a community need. They “leaned out” to help and “leaned in” to a lifelong ethic of hard work and service. They brought hope and joy to others in a difficult time and inspired others to contribute.