Clerk spotlighted

Published 10:36 pm Sunday, July 18, 2021

Saluda City Clerk featured in North Carolina Association of Municipal Clerks

SALUDA—The City of Saluda recently congratulated its city clerk Tola Sun Mueller for being featured in the North Carolina Association of Municipal Clerks’ newsletter. 

Mueller was featured for not only being a clerk, but for her life and journey and recently becoming a United States citizen. 

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Mueller’s feature is titled, “Out of the Killing Fields and into the Land of the Free” in the association’s newsletter. 

Mueller’s parents fled Cambodia before she was born. The newsletter says because of her father’s aid with the U.S. military during the Vietnam War his life was sought after by the Khmer Rouge. Her parents had to quickly disperse into the jungle and had to leave family behind, including 7 children who died from starvation or murder and 1 surviving infant daughter, as well as their belongings. 

Mueller’s parents bypassed landmines, dead bodies and rancid water to find solace in a refugee camp in Thailand, the newsletter says. In 1980, Mueller was born and 10 months later the family received an expedited sponsorship to the United States. 

“Her parents fought to preserve what they could of their seemingly lost culture and, therefore, she started kindergarten without the ability to read, write or speak English,” states the feature. “She was instilled with a fortitude to persevere and succeed so, not only did she become fluent in English, but she also overcame much racism in a small, southern town in South Carolina.” 

Mueller overcame and was the captain of her cheerleading squad in high school, played varsity basketball, was the president of numerous clubs, worked full-time, lived on her own her senior year and graduated as valedictorian with a full ride to college. 

Mueller graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Converse College with honors while raising 2 small children. 

By 2015, Mueller left an abusive marriage and raised 4 kids on her own. She opened a dance studio and still teaches private dance lessons today. 

Mueller has been the Saluda City Clerk since July 2016. 

She says she enjoys being a mediator and go between for the citizens of Saluda and the governing body. 

Mueller encourages new clerks to open themselves to learn on the job, to utilize their clerk world resources and to possess the ability to adapt and be humble. 

Mueller remarried in 2019 and she and her husband and 4 children own a home in Hendersonville. 

Mueller became an official citizen of the United States in 2020. 

“Congratulations to our city clerk for being spotlighted through the North Carolina Association of Municipal Clerks,” said City of Saluda officials this week on social media.