Torm Normpraseurt is a refugee from the Vietnam War, where the troops from America and Vietnam moved north through Laotian territory and left destruction, chaos, and many villages caught in the crossfire between the two sides. After migrating the location of his home multiple times, Torm came to the US and settled into a position as an IKEA factory worker. Eventually, Laotian refugees settled into Contra Costa counties, mostly in the Richmond area, and there was a need for a civil worker who can speak Laos. The pay was not high and Torm was requested, but he declined them multiple times until he decided to work for his community. He has worked there for 12 – 13 years and then left to create his own business after going to the government for forms to accommodate for more refugee languages and other things with no luck. The business did consulting with the government and non-profit organizations.
APEN was formed in 1993 and Richmond was chosen as the area for environmental issues due to over 350 chemicals most of them from Chevron and the fact that a lot of the community did not know of the dangers posed by the pollution. Torm first volunteered to collect data on the pollution and APEN wanted to recruit him, but he declined at first due to having a business. Now, he works at APEN helping to teach the community about the dangers of pollution and help fight environmental injustice.