Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Oshkosh residents named Hometown Heroes

Courtesy of Lori Palmeri — Mee Yang (left center) and Lee Yang (right center) hold their 2023-24 Hometown Hero awards. The Yangs were recognized by Wisconsin representatives Michael Schraa (back left) and Lori Palmeri (far right).

Wisconsin representatives Lori Palmeri and Michael Schraa announced Mee and Lee Yang of Oshkosh were recipients of the 2023-24 Hometown Hero Award last week on behalf of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

They recognized Mee and Lee Yang for their service and community advocacy in Oshkosh, where they run the Hmong Service Center, a nonprofit organization located in the downtown.

Mee Yang was elected the first female president of the group in 2016, four years before they opened a physical center on Main Street. Here, the Yangs help educate about Hmong culture and support Hmong youth through counseling, scholarships and other resources.

Palmeri, who first met the Yangs after being elected to the Oshkosh Common Council, said she saw how much they helped Oshkosh and the Hmong community as a whole after attending a Hmong Memorial Day festival.

“I … saw first-hand the impact they were making on the Oshkosh community through their service on community boards, commissions, soccer tournaments, teen pageants, raising scholarship dollars for students and providing financial counseling, all at a great sacrifice to their time, talent and money,” she said.

The Yangs were inspired to help others in the Hmong community after living in refugee camps in Thailand before they moved to the United States, Palmeri said.

The Yangs’ passion for helping others is deeply rooted in their life experiences as refugees from their homeland of Laos, their time in refugee camps in Thailand and their experience immigrating to the United States which has motivated them to help others and give back to the community that welcomed them and provided a new home and future,” she said.

The support of the Oshkosh Hmong community and dedication to improving life in the area from the Yangs are influential for many, Palmeri said.

“I continue to be inspired by their commitment to a greater good and their passion for operating the Hmong Service Center on Main Street in Oshkosh, which continues to be a labor of love.”

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