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LITTLE CHIEF-Chun Nam Park sits in the cab of a fire truck as he talks with his future father, Olen M. Newcombe, Camp Page fire chief.  The 13 year old boy, whose parents were killed by the North Koreans in 1950, is to go to Los Angeles to live with Newcombe and his wife when his adoption papers are approved.  (S&S Photo)

Jan. 20, 1960

Korean Boy Gets Break


CHUNCHON, Korea-Life held little hope for 3 year old Chun Nam Park in 1950.  The communists had destroyed his home and killed his parents.  Now Chun is a 13 year old with a bright future.  He is to be the adopted son of an American couple, Mr. and Mrs. Olen M. Newcombe of Los Angeles.  Newcombe is chief of the Camp Page Fire Department near here.

A Republic of Korea Marine lieutenant found Chun crying amid what was left of his family home in Hungnam City, Ham Kyung Namdo, North Korea, 10 years ago.  The officer took the child to Pusan.  The boy lived there until 1957 when employees of the Vinnell Corp. power plant at Camp St. Barbara adopted him as their mascot.

WHEN THE PLANT manager moved to Chunchon last June, Chun went along with him.  There he met Newcombe, and they took an instant liking to each other.  Newcombe wrote to his wife about the youngster.  She saw him for the first time Thanksgiving when she paid a surprise visit to her husband on their 31st wedding anniversary. 

Chun visited Mrs. Newcombe at Seoul's Bando Hotel where she lived during her three day stay in Korea.  "It was a case of love at first sight," says Newcombe.  "I saw Mrs. Newcombe and I loved her very much," says Chun, who has been nicknamed "The Little Chief" by the men at Camp Page.

HE SAYS HE wants to go to the United States.  "My father says he is going to send me to college and that makes me very happy."  Asked what he plans to do when he finishes college, Chun replied, "I want to be a lawyer and go back to Korea to help my people."

Chun, now 13, speaks English well.  Hew has taken lessons from Kil Hwan Chang, a schoolteacher who instructs Korean employees of the Camp Page fire department.

NEWCOMBE, who has been in Korea one year, is retired from the Los Angeles fire department.  He has been a fireman since 1924.  He and his wife have one other child-a married daughter who has three children.  The fire chief is working on adoption papers for Chun.  He says "I want to take him home with me on my vacation in June.  If I don't. . . I might as well not go.  My wife would never give me a minute's rest."

They plan to name the youngster Norm after he is adopted.




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