Pacific Stars and Stripes, November
SEOUL (8th Army) - Hong Sung Yoo and his
202 children are all right now. But their bright future was preceded
by a series of setbacks and difficulties, especially for Hong, who devoted
much of his life to the people of his war-tortured land.
Hong knew poverty early in life, but
even then gained the reputation of one who never hesitated to extend a
helping hand, regardless of personal sacrifice. He learned the ideals
of Christianity from his mother-a lay Methodist minister.
Hong's initiative and talent for organization assured him of business
success. At 19, he headed a commercial bus company in Seoul. When the
war came in 1950, Hong took what buses he could to Taegu where he furnished
transportation for the ROK Army, refugees and the hard pressed citizens
of the city. When the Communists were driven out of Seoul, Hong transported
disabled ROK soldiers to their homes in the Seoul area, taking his buses
north once more.
Children were living like animals in the smoking
ruins of the capital city. Hong began to take them to his own home
to care for them. A few grew to 120, too many for his home-so he sought
a place in which to succor his growing brood.
The Nam Buk Orphanage grew from this.
A one-man operation, Hong funneled profits from his company, which now
had only four buses left of an original 20, into his orphanage. He hired
men and women to care for his small charges. The Presbyterian Mission
in Korea helped some, but the cost of caring for the children still ate
into the company's profits. Two of the four buses were sold and Hong's
family began to feel the lack of funds.
Then came a break. The Christian Children's Fund,
an American organization devoted to caring for homeless children around
the world, helped the orphanage. The number of wards rose to 200.
But the lease was lost on the institution's buildings and the children
were homeless. It seemed to Hong that all his efforts had been in vain.
AFAK was just becoming a reality in
Korea about this time. The 45th Engineer Gp. sponsored new
housing for the orphanage and the Christian Children's Fund assumed responsibility
for support of the institution. Building New Home A new home
for Hong and his now 202 wards is under construction. Until it is ready,
the children are living in emergency housing supplied by the engineers.
Fifteen cottages will grace the new institution where the children can
develop a feeling of living within a "family." A nurse will serve as
house mother in each unit. The youngsters attend public school, but also
receive vocational training at the orphanage to prepare them for their
new lives. Livestock will be raised to help feed the children and augment
the home's income.