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Priscilla Mendenhall

Board of Directors

“I lived in Laos as a teenager when my father was Director of USAID in Vientiane from 1956-68.  It became a place of my heart and still is.  At the time, I knew there was fighting which meant we could not travel many places. We lost a friend who bled out at Mahoset Hospital after crashing his motorbike on the way to our home.  His passenger’s eye and life were saved by docs at the US Air Force base in Udon.  Over six decades and years of study later, I am still coming to terms with what this all means.  It is my honor and privilege to serve on the Legacies of War Board”.

My Story

Priscilla's father was a career U.S. diplomat. This meant frequent moves in and out of Washington - Saigon, Vientiane, Tananarive and Tuscany to which she added Montreal, Paris, Tucson and Charlottesville. Her early exposure to different cultures, languages and food segued into a professional and volunteer life working alongside refugees and immigrants. Priscilla initially volunteered with the Hmong Highlander Development Fund, co-produced Too Much Air to Breathe, a documentary on Lao Buddhist healing, coordinated health programs at the Indochinese Community Center and went on to become Director of Interpreter Services and Cultural Competence at the Northern Virginia Area Health Education Center. More recently, she co-founded Dishes & Stories, a women refugee led catering enterprise in Tucson as well as the Cville Immigrant Freedom Fund which supports migrant families in paying ICE bond and immigration attorneys. Priscilla currently lives outside D.C, across the street from her daughter, her daughter's Dad and four cats.

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