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Pacific Stars and Stripes, Oct. 14, 1955

Farmer with Bumper Crop of Kids Takes Off for America with 12

Tokyo (S&S)- Harry Holt flew into Tokyo International Airport Thursday night with planeload of angels in damp diapers.

The 50-year-old Oregon farmer and sawmill operator arrived from Seoul on a CAT airliner, shepherding his cargo of 12 sleepy orphans en route from unwanted loneliness to the warmth of American foster homes.

Holt is adopting eight of the mixed-blood Korean-American orphans. The other four will find homes with families in Oregon, Michigan, and Texas.

Unaware of Fame

As the air liner's door swung open, the graying, stocky Holt stepped out to blink into a glare of popping flashbulbs and newsmen's questions. He seemed unawares of the extent to which his act has fired the imagination of the world.

"Mr. Holt, this is a fantastic thing you're dong," a newsman said.

"Oh, I don't know," he drawled in a northwoods voice.

As the twelve children leaving the plane in the arms of stewards, stewardesses, pilots, mechanics and assorted well-wishers, Holt counted them softly under his breath as they filed by.

Holt and company were ushered into a specially-arranged VIP room for the hour and-a-half wait between planes. The 12 children, aged 10 months to 3 1/2 years, began climbing the furniture, dismembering the telephone, and investigating the possibilities of hurling themselves out windows.

Holt unzipped his green lumber jacket and settled down to talk about his great adventure. He told how he and his wife Bertha had raised five girls and a boy in their 13-room house.

"I tried to retire a couple of years ago," he said with a grin, "but it wasn't much fun."

Interest by Film

Last December he became interested in the plight of mixed-blood Korean orphans after seeing a lecture and film sponsored by the World Vision organization of evangelist Bob Pierce.

So he said to his wife, "Let's see if we can raise another family."

"All right," said Mrs. Holt, "we have room for eight."

First, Holt had to have special legislation passed in Congress to allow the children to be brought to the States.

"Family" Gets Friendly

Since June he has been in Seoul making arrangements for the journey and getting acquainted with his new family.

His ambition for the youngsters is simply, "to raise them in a Christian home, keep them fed and clothed and loved. When they grow up they can choose their own careers and I'll try to help them make it."

While he spoke a slender girl with big brown eyes and a battered doll came up and shyly grasped his strong and weathered hand.

"This is Christine," Holt said. "She's my oldest-I think." 

Keeps Count on Children

He interrupted himself to look around the room. " eight, nine, ten, eleven-there's one missing!"

A tiny head poked out from under the couch and the rancher relaxed.

"I've been all summer rounding them up and I don't want to do it all over," he grinned.

At 7 p.m. the PAA plane was ready and the party filed out. The cargo was safely stowed in seats and bassinets and the "baby express" took off for home.

PSS-135 (S & S Photo-caption)


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