A Burmese refugee, Teenarler Dohn came to the United States in 2006 through the Interfaith Refugee Ministry here in New Bern.

Before arriving in the US, Teenarler and his family spent nine years in a Burmese refugee work camp, where they received little to no humanitarian aid. According to Teenarler, people in the camp were forced to work for the government or be beaten/shot.

Once help finally arrived, Teenarler and his family decided to come to America because they couldn’t go back to their home. “I was very fortunate,” he says. “I was able to bring my entire family with me.”

Teenarler began his career at UI shortly after arriving in the US. In fact, his son was also hired, and the two worked side-by-side, which is why Teenarler is affectionately known by all as “Papa.”

Known for his fortitude and “never give up” attitude, Teenarler recently celebrated becoming a US citizen! He began studying for the test about a year ago and passed with flying colors. A humble and reserved man, he didn’t make a big deal about it until co-worker Zaw Win made him pose for a photo and share his story.

When asked what he loves about the US, Teenarler’s never-ending smile lighted his face. “Everything!” he replied. He went on to add he has much to be grateful for, including three sons who have also become U.S. citizens.

Congratulations, Papa!