Chenue Her, a St. Paul native, made history this week as the first Hmong male news anchor in the United States.
Her marked his first day at WOI-TV Local 5 News in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday as an anchor on Good Morning Iowa. And he got a special surprise from KARE 11's Gia Vang, the first Hmong news anchor in the Twin Cities:
"I am thrilled for your new adventure back in the Midwest, just a short drive from your hometown here in the Twin Cities. Over the years I have watched you grow and thrive in this industry, and I felt your support being two of the very few TV news journalists who are Hmong," Vang told Her. "Now you're making history as the first Hmong male news anchor in the country. Haib kawg nkaus ("really amazing job")."
During the segment, Her said he was going to "try not to cry," adding he's known Vang for a while and she's a "big reason why I was able to find my footing in this industry. She's been a big part of my journey."
The moment was also highlighted on CBS Mornings on Friday. Correspondent Vladimir Duthiers said, "Underrepresented people need to be seen and to have people see him."
In response to being featured on CBS Mornings, Her posted to Facebook saying:
"I'm speechless. This week has been a literal dream come true for me. I'm just a Hmong kid from St. Paul, MN who dreamed, worked, and tried my hardest to stay true to who I am and where I'm from. To think the folks at CBS News thought my story was worthy of a national platform is humbling and I'll forever be grateful.
"Des Moines, thank you for embracing me and going on this journey with me. And, thank you for continuing to support We Are Iowa Local 5 News, a station that knew exactly what they were getting in me and chose to accept me exactly for who I am. We made history together."
Axios Des Moines spoke with Her, who said his family was worried he wouldn't find a job in TV news, and he didn't get some jobs when he said he wouldn't change his name to something different.
"For the first time in a long time, my dad said he was proud of me," Her said, according to Axios. "I'm 30, but like, that still means so much to me."
According to WOI-TV Local 5 News, he is the son of Hmong refugees who came to the U.S. after the Vietnam War. He went to the University of Northwestern-St. Paul and was a reporter in Virginia, Oregon and Atlanta before joining WIO-TV Local 5 News as an anchor on Oct. 4.