Posted on Mar 21, 2015
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From left: Pithou Nuth, President George W. Bush, and Gary Jackson at the Samaritan Inn Gala

From a barefoot Cambodian Refugee to a VIP guest hanging with the President at The Samaritan Inn Gala

Every so often we like to feature one of our clients in our newsletter, but this story isn’t about the latest, coolest business in the area. Instead a human interest story that we think our readers might like.

This is a story about resilience and we wanted to share it because it’s also the story of one of our favorite clients, Pithou Nuth (known to us simply as P2). This is a story about how a kid that lived through “the killing fields” terror reign of the middle 70s’ by the Khmer Rouge has now become a successful and happy business guy here in Dallas and is using his influence to pay it forward at The Samaritan Inn.

At a very young age, Pithou Nuth overcame great adversity in Cambodia, fighting for his life for six years against hunger, oppression, and “ideological cleansing” that cost his dad’s life under the terrorist regime of the Khmer Rouge.

Pithou spent six years of his childhood enduring the “revolution” brought on by the Khmer Rouge. In 1975, the Nuth family was torn apart by the evacuation of Phnom Penh – the capital of Cambodia, and a city once populated with 2.5 million people. During the evacuation Pithou’s father was taken away from his family, never to be seen again. For the next four years, Pithou, his mother and three brothers were forced to travel from one rural area to the next to work in labor camps and commune farms.

While working in labor camps and in the rice fields, Pithou and his brothers sometimes spent months away from their mother, fighting for their own survival. Even though he was just the same age of a 7th grader, Pithou witnessed first-hand the brutality of war. He saw bodies of the fallen alongside the roads. He watched his grandparents and youngest brother weaken, wither and die because of the harsh living conditions.

Pithou’s mother fought through her own illness and struggles to keep Pithou and his two other brothers alive by trading all of their possessions for food.  In 1979, after four years of fighting for survival, Vietnamese forces took control over Cambodia, and the Nuth’s got their freedom back. After hearing of a refugee camp at the Thai-Cambodian border, they made the journey to the camp in hopes of finding food. However, upon their arrival to the refugee camp, one thing led to another and, with the help of the Catholic Diocese of Dallas, Pithou and his family were evacuated to (of all places) Dallas, Texas.

Once he and his family had settled in Dallas, Pithou was enrolled in ninth grade at Newman Smith High School in Carrollton, TX. Even though he had only completed school through the equivalent of fourth grade and knew no English, he immediately surprised his teachers by succeeding in math, and learning English and French at the same time. Pithou and his siblings quickly became known as the Fabulous Nuth Brothers, outshining all other students in each class they took.

Because of either his innate or learned RESILIENCE – Pithou continued his success by winning an academic scholarship to the University of Texas. After getting his accounting degree and earning his CPA, Pithou held positions and worked his way up the ranks at Deloitte and Touche and Ernst and Young, and eventually was hired as CFO at Wilson Office interiors. He has also worked at Landmark Redevelopment where he and his partners began creating equity in the businesses he served. At his next position, he became both a shareholder and officer of one of the fastest growing companies in North Texas – NTR Metals, which has subsequently merged with Ohio Precious metals and become Elemental USA with operations in North America and throughout Europe.

However, it hasn’t all been business. In 1995, Pithou met and married his wife Sinna, and they have two children, ages 12 and 13 who attend St. Marks and Greenhill schools, respectively. On a funny note, Pithou and his family now live in Preston Hollow just around the corner from Laura and W.

This industrious and resilient young man has achieved much success and accomplished much from – let’s face it – a challenging and troubled beginning. Beyond resilience, his story is also cool because it’s a story of a person overcoming so much and keeping a heart of gratitude. Pithou and his partners at NTR have been perennial contributors to the homeless and the displaced through our partnership with The Samaritan Inn.

This is not just a story of resilience and accomplishment, it is a story about paying it forward.