Henny Ohr is a great example of how much one caring, motivated person can do to help so many. In 2009, Henny met a group of refugees from Burma. She learned about their lives of persecution in Burma, their struggles in refugee camps, and the challenges they face living in Iowa. She offered to help. After more conversations and much planning, Henny founded the non-profit organization, Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC) in 2013. EMBARC now offers assistance to many of the 7,000 ethnic minorities from Burma who have settled in Iowa over the past eight years.
As a child of Korean immigrants, Henny experienced the frustrations of living in a new culture and not speaking the language. She shows respect every day as she treats the Burmese ethnic community members as equals who need a hand, rather than strangers who don’t quite fit.
Henny follows in the footsteps of Governor Robert D. Ray by helping secure new, safe homes for refugees of war and persecution. She is an exemplary Iowa citizen, working to continue our state’s legacy as a community of caring people, willing to reach out and help others.
Congratulations to Henny Ohr, the 2016 Adult Citizen of Character!