Korean community donates to LBJ Hospital saying, "We've spent more of our lives here, than in Korea"
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Last Friday morning, officials from the local Korean Community presented a $2,000 donation to the LBJ Medical Center. Accepting the gift on behalf of the territory's only hospital was chief executive officer Faumuina John Faumuina (center).
Current president for the organization, Hyon Chong Park, told Samoa News that he has lived in the territory for 35 years and he feels a special connection to American Samoa and its people.
The Korean Community board members are all business owners. The organization has been donating to the American Samoa Government every year for "many years" and this year, for the first time ever — and in the spirit of Christmas — the group decided to donate to the LBJ Hospital.
Their most recent donation to ASG was for this year's Flag Day celebrations, for which the group donated close to $4,000.
During Friday's presentation to LBJ, Park said he is hopeful that the new board members, who will be under the watch of incoming president Seong Lim Heo, will continue the tradition of giving and perhaps they will be able to donate more money to the ASG and the LBJ Hospital next year.
Organization treasurer Taek Yong Kweon explained that most of their members have been living in the territory for more than 20 years. Heo has been here for 40 years.
"We've spent more of our lives here, than in Korea," Kweon said. "We are here; we've been here, and we don't want to be considered 'separate' from the Samoan people. We try to be close to the Samoans."
Of the donation, Park said, "We want to give more, but our Korean population here in American Samoa — including infants — is so small, only about 130 members, not a big number compared to the Chinese and others."
In his acceptance speech, Faumuina said, "Koreans are considered a part of our community. You all play a major role in the economic development of the territory. You create jobs for our people and take care of our financial and economic needs — which is great. And now you have reached out and donated this substantial amount to help the LBJ Hospital."
On behalf of the governing board and staff at LBJ, "We say thank you very much for your generosity," Faumuina said.
"We extend our appreciation and hope that other communities will do the same. You have taken the lead to help LBJ and we are reaching out for help — because we need it — to take care of our healthcare needs."