Resilience, Achievement, Compassion: A Modern Immigrant Story Article from Vesterheim, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2020 by Unni Sonja Blegen.
One woman’s inspiring first-person narrative of growing up in Nazi-occupied Norway, immigrating as a teenager, finding the love of her life, and raising a family. Unni Sonja Blegen grew up in Nazi-occupied Norway, facing both national and personal challenges as a young girl. She immigrated to the United States with her mother in 1951 and met her future husband, Lester A. Hoel, born during the Great Depression, a son of Norwegian immigrant parents from Bergen. Lester worked to complete his masters and doctorate degrees, and they raised three daughters while he went on to become a renowned professor and national authority on transportation engineering, authoring seminal textbooks on the subject. Here Unni tells their story in her own words, with a little help from Lester.