Courtesy photo Thomas Manyvong with his father, Bounhom Manyvong, far right, and his mother Amnouy Manyvong, far left, stepfather Vatanachai Sangchai, left, and half brother Jerry Tango, center, during a 2007 Thanksgiving gathering at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.
Freedom New Mexico
A Cannon airman led a jammed funeral service for his father earlier this week, slain in an East Oakland, Calif., robbery.
Bounhom Manyvong, 59, was a security guard at an Auto Zone store. He was shot and killed Dec. 19.
Tuesday, about 300 people — including more than 50 security guards from a variety of agencies — paid tribute along with his son, Cannon Airman Thomas Manyvong.
Manyvong, who has been in the Air Force for two and half years, said his father was his inspiration for being an airman with 27th Special Operations Medical Support Unit at Cannon.
“He was a good man and always helping the community,” Manyvong said. “My dad was in the Laos military. He was in the infantry there.”
His father immigrated to the U.S. from Laos in 1982.
Manyvong, the youngest of five brothers, said his dad taught them to love and respect each other. He said his father lived a simple life. And, when Manyvong told his father he was going into the military, he was happy.
“He was proud,” Manyvong said. “He was real excited, you know.”
Manyvong said his father taught him wisdom, leadership and about being a good man. He said those qualities have helped him with his career in the Air Force.
“He always taught me to put others before myself,” Manyvong said. “He taught me to be a straight forward and focused person, and I believe I got that from my father.”
Manyvong said his fondest memory of his dad was coming home to see his big smile when he walked through the door.
“Whenever I came home for something like Thanksgiving,” Manyvong said, “he always had a big smile on his face. He was always happy and commented on how tall I got.
“He liked being a security guard because it was similar to his service in Laos,” Manyvong said. “You know, helping in the community. It was just in his heart.”