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Homeless-Aid Volunteer Says San Jose Church Stabbing Won't Deter Him

SAN JOSE (KPIX) -- A victim of a brutal attack by a homeless man is not letting that deter him from helping the homeless community. Nguyen Pham sat down for an exclusive interview with KPIX for the first time after the attack.

"I try to get to know everyone by their first name and I get pretty upset at myself if I don't remember the name the second time I meet them," Pham said while walking through an encampment he visits every day at Columbus Park.

Pham says learning people's first names and remembering them helps with trust, a valuable currency in camps that isn't easily earned.

Trust in this community is something he struggles with too.

"I think the theme of a lot of my dreams is trust issues ... I, myself, still have PTSD about the incident, lots of nightmares, the scars on my face, my neck and everything," Pham said.

When Pham goes to sleep his subconscious takes him back to Nov. 22. He was one of five volunteers at Grace Baptist Church to be stabbed by a homeless man he was helping.

He has scars on his neck and cheek and says he had a blade stuck in his head for three hours at the hospital.

Two of the volunteers didn't survive but, as soon as he started to heal, Pham came back to help the homeless community.

"A week after the incident, I started coming back slowly and, you know, the moment I pulled up to the park here, other homeless individuals started coming out and welcomed me and that's when I knew that coming back was not a bad idea," Pham said.

For Pham, the enemy isn't the man he was trying to help who attacked him. The real problem to him is that so many are still sleeping outside and, until they're housed, he'll be there to help.

"I would say don't let what happened to me define the community that we serve in love," Pham said.

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