Membership spotlight: Ákos Bőhm

Interview with Ákos Bőhm, VP of HAAW

Where did you grow up? Do you consider yourself to be Hungarian, American or Hungarian-American?
I was born in Székesfehérvár in 1993. The town also known as the ‘city of Kings’ as the rulers of Hungary were crowned in the city before they moved the ceremonies to the capital, Budapest.  I spent my teenage years in Székesfehérvár as my family roots connect there. My great-grandfather from my mother’s side was a successful tradesman at the time, owning vineyards at the district of Öreg-hegy and also running a successful clothing business by developing a pattern printing method called kék-festés.  The locations of the family stores still exist in downtown Székesfehérvár, of course hosting new businesses today. Székesfehérvár for me is not just a town in which I was born but means a lot more as it represents the history of my family as well.  

After graduating from Vasvári Pál High School I got accepted to Budapest University of Technology and Economics, where I have completed both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering. During that time, I was living in Budapest enjoying the vibrant life of the capital. I met my wife, Alexandra, close to the end of my university studies through a mutual family friend with whom I played water polo. After living in a long-distance relationship for 4 years we decided to move together and continue our life in the USA. 

I am considering myself a Hungarian who lives in the United States as I like to represent and live by our European values. 

How long have you lived in Washington State?
I have been living in Washington State since arriving in the USA in December 2018. My in-laws have settled down in the Seattle area since their arrival ,in the beginning of the 2000s. Getting to know the area, I fell in love with the beautiful nature and the location as in 40 minutes I can see the ocean or if I want, I can head to the slopes of Mount Rainier to practice all kinds of winter sports. 

How did you first learn about HAAW, and what were your first impressions?
Whenever I visited Alexandra when we were living long distance, one or more HAAW programs was always included in my trip as the family is part of the association. This way I already had some connection to HAAW even before I got to live here. Meeting this group of people it was really heartwarming to see that even on the other side of the word Hungarians keep their traditions and culture and stick together. They never forget where they came from.

Tell us about your journey as a HAAW member – what has it meant to you?
With Alexandra, we try to participate as many events as possible and help the community where we can. Having been elected as vice president of the organization, my involvement into the planning of our future got even deeper. I love to be part of the board as this way I can give more meaningful support. 

What would you like to see our organization do in the coming months and years?
I experienced first-hand that our association has a very ambitious and motivated leadership team so I am positive about that we will continue the great work of our predecessors honoring our culture and serving the members of the association. Hopefully in the upcoming months we can get back to our normal way of meetings in person, get to know the new members and convince other Hungarians that it is worth their while to join us. Now that we have purchased a land in Cle Elum exclusively for the association, many more possibilities have opened to organize fun events for everyone.

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