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Pacific Stars and Stripes, Nov. 5, 1951

Buffaloes’ Families Give Koreans Clothes

By Cpl. Chuck Francisco

WITH THE U.S. 7TH INF REG- Loaded with "Kartons for Koreans," packages sent to Korea from friends and families of men of the 17th Infantry Buffalo Regiment, two jeeps turned off a dusty road and stopped amid the bullet-pocked buildings in a Korean village.

In the lead jeep was Chaplain (Maj.) Ralph Osborn, Gossville, N.H., who is in charge of the project, undertaken to provide warm winter clothing for innocent victims of war.

Only one small girl was in sight when the jeeps rolled in. The interpreter explained that the American soldiers had "many, many presentos" of clothing for those who needed them. Off she sped, and within a matter of minutes the people of all sizes and ages were crowding around the loaded trailer.

The chaplain and his helpers dug into the big cartons and displayed countless articles which brought smiles of frantic eagerness to the faces of young and old alike. Mothers nursing naked babies crowded forward and were given warm knit sweater sets for their youngsters. Little boys and girls grabbed their bright new American clothes and sprinted away to try them on.

Like a bargain counter at Macy’s, as more people arrived, the wilder the group became. Soon the trailer was rocking as the villagers struggled to make sure they all got something.

The problem was finally solved, in part when the mayor of the village, an elderly and dignified gentleman in spite of his tattered attire, explained that there would be plenty for all. Lines were formed and the trailer was soon emptied.

The families of the Buffaloes were generous in their donations. One box contained all new denim jackets and trousers for little boys, and bright plaid skirts and jackets for little girls. The stooped and wrinkled grandmothers of the village walked a little straighter in warm winter coats.

Chaplain (Capt.) John W. Betzold, West Collingswood, N.J., originated the idea of "Kartons for Koreans" in August. He distributed letters to the men of the 17th during Sunday church services asking for donations of clothing from their families back in the States. Chaplain Betzold has since gone on rotation, but his program is gaining impetus daily as more and more cartons of gifts arrive at the headquarters of the Buffaloes.

"At first I thought it would be too big a problem for us to distribute the clothing ourselves," Chaplain Osborne admitted. "But now that I’ve seen the faces of these people as we hand out the clothes. It’s worth any amount of trouble that might be involved. It is truly more blessed to give than to receive.



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