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Pacific Stars and Stripes, August 20, 1951

Worldwide Generosity Aids Korean Orphans

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 each evening.

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 Korea.

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 Barbero.

"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 help again?"

We told him we thought so.


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