Pacific Stars and Stripes,
August 20, 1951
By M/Sgt. Fred W. Baars
Stars & Stripes Correspondent
Of all the spontaneous charities
which have mushroomed all over war-torn Korea, none has caught the public
fancy to the extent demonstrated at the Happy Mountain Orphanage and
Childrens' Hospital at Pusan.
Sparked by a story in the Stars & Stripes Weekly
Review last May, gifts and money and desperately needed supplies are
literally dropping from the skies, said Capt. Clifford G. McKeon, Civil
Assistance officer in charge of the institution, in reporting the gift
of an electric refrigerator flown to Korea by an Air Force squadron
at Itazuke. With the refrigerator came a check for a substantial amount
presented by Capt. Harold B. Woods, AF, on behalf of the Itazuki personnel.
McKeon carefully records and acknowledges every
gift, to the very smallest. In fact, he doesn't consider any gift small
because, before the Stars & Stripes article, he had seen his cash operating
fund drop to about three cents.
Typical of the local donations received are $200
per month donated by the NCO club, 3d Log Command and the $1075.60 raised
by Chaplain Peter S. Rush from units of the 2d Log Command.
The story of Happy Mountain has spread to the States
and from widely separated points have come many needed items.
From the First Presbyterian church in Alameda, Calif.,
came seven boxes of clothing and other gifts. Sgt. Odie T. Canvar, 1343d
Combat Engineer battalion, wrote his Sunday School class at Central
Methodist church in Decatur, Ala., which sent four large boxes of clothing.
Canvar also apparently spends much of his pay on personal gifts which
he brings on his frequent visits to Happy Mountain. Boston Children's
Hospital has sent expensive surgical instruments and apparatus and a
pharmaceutical supply house has given critical drugs, including a supply
of the new and hard to get cortisone, miracle arthritis cure. A Barberton,
Ohio, rubber company has sent a huge supply of toys and military and
civilian residents in Ft. Jackson, S.C. area have donated $400 and quantities
of clothing. The desperately needed X-Ray machine quickly appeared and
is installed with a modest plaque inscribed, Donated by two American
children, Gay Elinor Weisman and Jennifer Chang Weisman." USIS in Pusan
furnishes recreational and educational movies in English and Korean
which the children receive enthusiastically for three hours or longer
It is fortunate that response to the appeal made
through Stars & Stripes was so prompt, generous and sustained, for the
population of Happy Mountain has now grown to 650, including the Korean
staff, orphans and hospital patients.
Significant of the universal appeal of Happy Mountain
to all creeds is the recent joining of two great forces, noted for their
charities-the Mason and Catholics -which now promise permanence to this
heart warming institution. A Masonic group has announced that it will
build a permanent hospital which will be staffed and operated by Catholic
Severance University. It will be the first children's' hospital in all
This vision has long been cherished by youthful,
energetic 1st Lt. Giulio J. Barbero, MC, Drexel Hill, Pa., former resident
in pediatrics at Philadelphia Children's' Hospital, who has carried
so well the medical burden of Happy Mountain on his competent shoulders
and whose adoring little patients call him "Ajustsi" (uncle) or even
"Abuji" (father). Former volunteer helpers have been rotated, he is
now assisted by Capt. Charles R. Bepler, Wheeling, W. Va., the two doctors
devoting their entire off-duty time to work at the hospital. They appear
to never sleep.
"Right now," said Barbero, "our
mortality rate is practically zero." Then, glancing over the blanket
shrouded little forms on litters in the surgical ward where lay the
latest crop from the battle area, his face sobered as he added, "But,
gee! One week was awful. They all died. I simply couldn't stop them."
Most recent problem, Barbero said, is frequently
finding abandoned babies on their doorstep. One phase of this problem
was providentially solved when a shipment of layettes was erroneously
sent to Korea. This unique logistical error has been a boon indeed to
these tiny Korean misses who are thriving on formulas prescribed by
"Both Dr. Barbero and I are overwhelmed
by the response to our frantic plea for help," said Captain McKeon.
"The help coming in from everywhere-Korea, Japan, and America-assures
proper care for these children and insures their future."
Then, shyly, he added, "We could use some band instruments
and a piano. Many of these kids are highly talented. We already have
a group which entertains troops in this area. We have a good music teacher
in our school department, but no instruments. Do you think you could
We told him we thought so.