Thanksgiving is a time to show appreciation for all the special people who have touched our lives in some way. This year, we would like to share Tusnee McDaniel’s incredible story of determination, love, triumph, & gratitude. Her will to persevere despite all obstacles is an inspiration to us all.
Born in Thailand, Tusnee McDaniel was taught at a very young age the value of hard work. If you were old enough to play, you were old enough to work and Tusnee embraced this philosophy. Tusnee’s mother prepared made to order meals for others and often Tusnee walked to obtain the items her mother needed.
Tusnee met her husband Kerry on a United States Airforce base in Thailand. They married and moved to California where Tusnee earned her United States citizenship. As a young couple, they didn’t have a lot of money so Tusnee cleaned offices for $75 monthly to help provide for her growing family. After years of hard work, Tusnee decided to pursue her love of Thai food. She sold property she owned in Northern Neck and used the proceeds to purchase a decrepit gas station in Gloucester Courthouse. Tusnee planned to convert the old gas station to a to-go restaurant but due to termite damage, the building she purchased had to be demolished. Fortunately, the community rallied to help make Tusnee’s dream happen and in 2007, Bangkok Noi was built at 6724 Main Street in Gloucester, Virginia.
There were people who didn’t believe in Tusnee’s vision of authentic Thai food in Gloucester. In fact, they expressed concerns she would fail but Tusnee didn’t become discouraged and she did not give up. She continued to work hard and on opening day, Tusnee was both amazed and delighted to see customers lined up at the door anxiously awaiting her grand opening.
Although Tusnee endured many hardships, she bonded to her purpose and was determined to see it through. Tusnee didn’t just survive, she thrived and now operates two restaurants with her family. At Thanksgiving and all throughout the year, we’re thankful for the hard workers, the dreamers, and those determined to reach their goals no matter the obstacle because they are the backbone that makes Gloucester such a wonderful community to live in.
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!