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Approximately 150 copies of this letter along with two photographs were sent to persons who had sent packages to the company for the orphanage or who had written saying a package was on the way.  I sent the original letter and the negatives to my mother, Ann E. Drake in Manasquan, NJ and she did the work getting the letters printed, photos attached, and mailed.


326 Communication Reconnaissance Company

APO 301, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco, Calif.

January 1953

Dear Friends: 

The party is over, the floor is swept, the chairs are straightened, and the children have all returned home.  The second annual Christmas party for the orphans of Manassas Manor is now a thing of the past.  The party is over but the memory of it will live with these children for a long time.  As "gratitude is the memory of the heart" it is there that these children will remember you. 

Over 350 individually wrapped presents were distributed to the 50 children.  Most of these presents were sent from you who responded so generously to our request for aid.  Besides these gifts for the children a truckload of clothes was taken to the Seoul Sanatorium and Hospital where the children are now located.  Letters received indicate only a half of the goods have arrived with the rest still on the way. 

The party is something that will never be forgotten.  Once the children arrived at the Quonset hut being used for the party they were each given a cup of candy.  One by one they were led up to Santa, drafted into the army for this occasion.  As each child came forward he or she would keep their eyes downcast.  They would stop in front of Santa, make a deep bow, accept the gifts, still without looking up at Santa, thank him in Korean and then retreat to their places quickly. 

The look of utter joy and amazement on the faces of the children was well worth the work and effort put forth by the people in the United States who sent aid for this purpose and the time that we here in Korea spent toward this end. 

I am unable to tell more of the party except that it was sheer confusion from there on in.  The children were wild with joy and were running in mad circles showing everyone what they had received.  Besides what was sent from the States each boy had received from the men of the company a pair of trousers, a sweater and a pair of gloves, and each girl received a skirt, sweater and gloves.  They all tried on their new clothes right then and there by forcing then on over the rest of their clothing.  What a sight!


In my initial letter I told of the orphanage being only a number of yards from the company area.  The members of the orphanage committee found that that site was not very good for the children, as the sanitary facilities were not the best and suitable overhead personnel was impossible to find.  We checked with Mrs. Rue and Miss Irene Robson at the Seoul Sanatorium and Hospital Orphanage and asked them if they would be able to take care of our charges in their place.  They agreed. 

Moving day was something to see!  The children were pent up with excitement.  We loaded one 2-1/2 ton truck with the children and he other with all the moveable equipment in the buildings.  I previously told you there were 55 children.  Moving day there were only 50 to be move!  No one knows what happened to the other five! 

The new home for the children is the Seventh Day Adventist Medical Mission, Seoul Sanatorium and Hospital Orphanage.  Dr. Rue, his wife, and Miss Irene Robson are the American personnel at the place.  The establishment is self-supporting.  The orphanage part of the project is something taken up by the Rues and Miss Robson and is supported solely through donations of people in the United States like yourselves and the GIs in Korea interested in the welfare of these children. 

The day we arrived with the children three of them were admitted immediately to the hospital with various diseases.  Thirty percent of the total number of children there have TB!  The next time we saw the children they were clean---something not quite possible under former conditions!  They live in clean, even though crowded concrete buildings.  The smaller children live in a building near the hospital while the older children have been moved to a group of buildings about a mile from the hospital itself.  There they go to school.  The boys and girls carried bricks to help repair the bombed-out building in which they live. 

Now, instead of 50 charges, we have 250.  We of the 326th Comm. Recon. Co. are going to help the Rues and Miss Robson raise these children to be a credit to their country and an everlasting friend of the U.S.  Won't you also help us?  Still in great need are socks, shoes, underwear, dried cereals, dried milk, and outing flannel (or other heavy cloth).  A letter to Mrs. George Rue, S.D.A. Mission, APO 72, c/o Postmaster, San Francisco or to me will bring a more detailed listing of items most desperately needed by the orphanage.  If packages are sent it is best that they be sent through me, as the Rue's APO privilege is only for 1st class letters.  Packages can be sent directly through international mail.  Address:  Seoul Sanatorium and Hospital, Box 43, Seoul. 

My heartfelt thanks to all of you on behalf of the children and the men of my company.


                                                George F. Drake

                                                Cpl  RA 12344689


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