2013-2019 Light of the Orient Awardees
Grace T. Ogawa - 2019
Grace Terumi Ogawa is a 3rd generation Japanese American in Hawaii. She grew up in a traditional Japanese family where her father was a Buddhist priest. She has 2 grown daughters Taryn and Remi.
Grace graduated from Chaminade University with a degree in elementary education and is currently a Senior Underwriter with Primary Residential Mortgage in Honolulu. She has been in the Lending Industry for 43 years.
Grace currently serves as Secretary for the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce where she has served on various committees during her tenure. In 2016 and 2017 she was the Chair of the annual Korean Festival.
Grace’s love for the Korean culture and people bloomed when in 2000 she watched Autumn Story and fell in love with Korean dramas. She decided to join K-Drama, a Korean drama club, where she made many friends who shared her enthusiasm and passion for all things Korean. In 2007 an opportunity arose and Grace became President of Hallyu Friends a non-profit organization. Hallyu Friends is a club which embraces all things Korean including dramas, music, culture and food!
Through Hallyu Friends Grace has organized many events sharing the Korean culture with local residents. She supports local Korean businesses by having them do presentations to promote their products/business. A traditional tea ceremony, working with a Korean market to celebrate Chuseok, beauty demonstrations with physicians from Korea are just some of the events she has put together.
Grace organized a fund raising event with the Korean Consulate and Chef Grant Sato called “Experience Korean Cuisine” and all proceeds benefited his scholarship program. Grace also worked with Senjukai Hawaii and Lotus Spirits to promote “Uchinan Pocha”, Okinawan and Korean cuisine, featuring Chef Grant Sato.
Korean drama and music are a big part of the culture and Grace was able to have Lee Jung and Kim Ji Hoon visit Hallyu Friends and most recently assisted in the Park Sang Min Love for Hawaii concert.
Throughout the years, Grace has had the opportunity to meet many Korean people throughout the community in Hawaii as well as Korea. The friendships she has fostered continue to be the reason for her passion to share this dynamic culture with the people of Hawaii.
Being the ultimate organizer Grace is always thinking of ways to give back to those around her including the Korean and local community. She continually works tirelessly and selflessly all year long to organize events to bring about awareness of the Korean culture and traditions.
Sung Man Park - 2019
Sung Man Park was born in Cheonan South Korea. After his schooling was complete he moved to Guam, where he became a successful businessman. This career path was profitable but ultimately unsatisfying. By a stroke of luck one of his past professors asked him to help tutor some high school students and Mr. park found that he liked it. He returned to college planning to become a pharmacist but eventually ended up getting his teaching credentials in Hawaii instead.
Mr. Park's teaching career in Hawaii started with substitute teaching at public and private middle and high schools, followed by several years at one of Honolulu's “tougher” middle schools. He eventually moved to Washington Middle School, where he has been a math teacher for 14 years and coach of the Math Team for the last 12 years. Under his leadership the Washington Math Team has been the State Champions for the last 8 years in a row. He has been the State Math Coach and led his teams to the National Championships each year. In 2017 he was selected Hawaii State Teacher of the Year. In 2018 he took his team to an international math competition in Korea, where they won a number of medals.
Mr. Park's greatest satisfaction comes from seeing his students succeed. Many of his students go on to win scholarships to prestigious private and public high schools and to great colleges. In spite of getting offers to teach at many public and private high schools Mr. Park chooses to stay at Washington Middle because he feels that the students need him and are still young enough to be guided into making good life choices.
Barbara Kim Stanton - 2018
Barbara Kim Stanton is a 3rd generation Korean-American in Hawaii whose grandmother was a picture bride from Pusan, Korea in 1908.
She holds an M.A. in public policy from Claremont Graduate University in California.
She has been the State Director of AARP since 2005. AARP is a non-profit organization committed to empowering Americans 50 and older to live the life they choose as they age. AARP Hawaii has nearly 150,000 members in Hawaii, and advocates on healthcare, financial security and livable communities.
She has over 32 years of experience in executive positions in government, academia, non-profits and community building—especially in diverse populations. For over 11 years, she held cabinet-level and leadership positions in Hawaii State and city departments, including the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, High Tech Development Corporation, Honolulu City & County Department of Planning and Permitting and Office of Waikiki Development. She was one of the first faculty members at the University of Hawaii’s Center for Labor Relations, where she taught labor relations.
She has served as the lead for numerous major state and county initiatives, including the $350 milllion development of the Hawaii Convention Center, the $50 million revitalization of Waikiki, and the recovery and reopening of the island of Kauai after Hurricane Iniki in 1992. She has also served as chief clerk of the Senate Ways and Means Committee at the Hawaii state legislature. As director of Hawaii’s statewide voter education program, she worked closely with over 400 ethnic, labor and business groups to achieve record high voter registration and participation on all major islands.
She is on the Board of Directors for the Maunalani Nursing Center, is a Past President of the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce, Korean Centennial, and is a Life Member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association. She was the founder of the Governor’s Film and Video Council and served on the Board of Directors for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, the Honolulu Theater for Youth, the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau, and numerous other boards.
2017- The Daniel Kahikina Akaka Award for AARP community contributions.
2010 Ten Who Made A Difference Community Award (Honolulu Star Advertiser)
2009 Advocate of the Year, Elderhood Project (KHON TV and Family Caregiver Coalition)
Ki Un Lee - 2018
Ki Un Lee was born on August 27, 1938, in a rural area of Namwon city, about 6 hours south from Seoul. He spent most of his adolescence time on his own when his father, mother and oldest brother passed away in his teen years. After serving four years in the Republic of Korea Army, he married Ms. Kum Ja No on November 23, 1967 and has been together for 50 years. Encouraged by his brother-in- law, he along with his family, Ms. Lee and two sons at age 3 and 5, moved to Oahu on 15 January 1974 in search of better opportunity and better life for his family. With only $1042 in hand and spoke no English, he was not deterred. With hard work, patience, and eager to learn, he persevered and had a successful career as an automotive technician. Mr. and Mrs. Lee proudly became U.S. naturalized citizen in 1979. He retired in 2011 at age 66.
He recalled fond memories when he was 15 years old, marching along Korean folk village farm dancers (Nongak), one of the oldest dance forms in Korea, traditionally performed during crop planting and harvesting, Korean Thanksgiving Day (Chuseok), and Lunar New Year’s Day (Seollal). He took lessons from Ms. Mary Jo Freshley and Jia Kim at Halla Huhm Studio. His enjoyment turned into passion and established the Hawaii Nongak Dance Club in 1995 with only four members. He renamed the club to Hawaii Korean Farmer Music & Dance Club, a non-profit organization, and currently consists of twenty-seven members, ages ranging from 60 to 85 years old. His club has been very active in the community sharing and perpetuating the Korean culture. As you may have seen them performing at various events such as the Annual Hawaii Korean Chamber Commerce Korean Cultural Festival, East-West Center Korean Cultural Day, Korean Consulate events, Hawaii State Capital, Korean Community Sports Festival, and many parades at Kaimuki, Kailua, and Hawaii Kai Christmas parades; Japan Honolulu Festival Grand Parade, Pan Pacific Parade, and the great Aloha Festivals Floral Parade. He has been awarded the Community Enrichment award from the Korean American Society of Hawaii, Appreciation Award from the United Korean Association of Hawaii, and the Co-Operation Award from GCS Club, Hawaii Chapter for his contribution and unselfishly promoting Korean community and culture to mainstream Hawaii. He is honored to be recognized by the Korean American Foundation Hawaii and grateful to receive the Light of the Orient award.
Toni Lee - 2018
Toni Lee was born on July 2, 1937 in Busan, Korea. As a toddler, Ms. Lee was taught the traditional Korean dance extensively and later became an instructor herself. She also pursued a teaching career within the elementary school system. In 1969, Ms. Lee’s sister invited her to continue her studies in Virginia. Before heading to Virginia, she decided to visit a friend who lived in Hawaii and it was during this visit, Ms. Lee was introduced to her future husband. It was at this very moment where destiny intervened and realigned her traveling plans and life’s journey. She was blessed with a beautiful daughter whose name is Lillian. Unfortunately, her marriage eventually dissolved and Ms. Lee raised her daughter as a single mom and became heavily involved with community service. Coupled with her inner love of and interest in Hawaii’s culture and its people, Ms. Lee has dedicated most of her life serving her community through educating and inspiring children and seniors who cross her path by sharing her expertise in life skills. She is known for her delicious Korean dishes, traditional Korean dance and hula. She advocates active and healthy senior living and promotes peace and appreciation for nature’s beauty and life itself while maintaining a strong cultural identity to her beloved Korea.
The first organization that Ms. Lee actively participated in was Mother’s Against Drunk Driving. She has been invited as a feature chef on the Electric Kitchen and several other cooking shows locally. Since 1987, Ms. Lee continues to serve as the President of the Lanakila Korean Cultural Club. From 1997, she serves as the Chair of the Waipahu Plantation Village Heritage. From 2003 - 2011, she served as the Vice President for the United Korean Association of Hawaii. Ms. Lee currently teaches cultural dances, cooking classes, sewing and arts and crafts to adults and seniors with special needs at Helemano Plantation in Wahiawa.
Leadership, selflessness and devotion are just a few words which describe Ms. Lee’s tenacityand life dedication to sharing her Korean traditions with Hawaii’s children, young adults, seniors and retirees.
She has been recognized by Hawaii’s Governors Linda Lingle and Ben Cayetano, the HawaiiState Senate and House, Honolulu Mayors Jeremy Harris and Mufi Hanemann, Honolulu City Council, Korean Consul Generals Heung Sik Choi and Dae Hyun Kang, and numerous non-profit organizations.
Hyon Cha & Garrick Koga - 2017
Hyon Cha Koga and Garrick Koga married in 1967, the same year Hyon Cha immigrated to Hawaii from Korea. This union was the start of a dynamic and productive partnership.
Mrs. Koga received her B.A. from the University of Hawaii. Mr. Koga received his B.S. from LA State College, School of Engineering and his M.S. from the University of Southern California, School of Engineering.
Mr. Koga is a licensed structural engineer. He has worked for a number of companies before retiring in 2003 as the Vice President at Engineering Design Group.
Mrs. Koga's professional experience ranged from working as a bilingual caseworker for both Susannah Wesley Community Center and the State of Hawaii Judiciary Branch to reaching Korean language and culture with the Department of Education and Leeward Community College. She fully retired in 2015. She also served as teacher and Principal at the Aiea Korean Culture School from 1995 to 2003. During this time, Mr. Koga also supported the school by working as a volunteer custodian.
Despite her busy professional career, Mrs. Koga made the time co serve as a volunteer bilingual interpreter for many international events, such as the I 988 Seoul Summer Olympics and 1993 Daejeon World Expo-Korea.
Mr. Koga volunteered to design the new sanctuary at the Haleiwa Jodo Mission and has served on the Mililani Town Association Design committee. He has been an active partner with Mrs. Koga in her many volunteer positions. Truly a great 2 for I deal!
The Koga's most significant and sustained contribution was with the Korean Festival's Cultural Exhibition committee. Mrs. Koga served as chair from 2001 to 2015 and Mr. Koga supported her as part of the committee. At the cultural tent, they had the opportunity to interact with thousands of festival guests, both locals and tourists. The Kogas patiently introduced and educated the festival guests about Korea's rich cultural heritage via exhibits that contained many of their own extensive collections.
Mrs. Koga has been recognized and honored by the Korean government and the Honolulu City Council for her work in promoting Korean language, arcs, and cultural traditions.
Congratulations to Hyon Cha and Garrick Koga on their upcoming 50th wedding anniversary and KAHM SA HAHM NI DA for their many years of joint community service.
Donald C.W. Kim - 2016
Donald Chang Won Kim was born on December 14, 1928 in Seoul, Korea by Yu Ho and Sook Kyung Kim, and is the youngest of their 6 children. He graduated from Kyunggi High School in Seoul, then attended Seoul National University and the University of Hawaii. He is a registered professional engineer who is licensed to practice in the State of Hawaii and Guam.
He started working at R.M. Towill Corporation in 1958 as a design engineer. By the time he retired in the year 2000, R.M. Towill Corporation was the largest and oldest consulting engineering company in the State of Hawaii, and he was its chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. He was also the chairman of the Board and CEO of Kilohana Corporation, which is the parent corporation of R.M. Towill Corporation. In 1988, he also founded and was the chairman of the Board and CEO of Keahole Associates, Inc., which was an architectural and engineering company. IN 1982, he founded and is the chairman of the Board and CEO of AMKOR A&E, Inc., an architectural and engineering company which has offices in Hawaii and in the Republic of Korea. He currently serves as the chairman of the Board of Ohana Pacific Bank, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Mr. Kim's lifelong commitment has been the driving force behind his involvement in such varied organiations as the Bishop Museum, the Pacific Rim Society, the Navy League of the United States, the Korean Dong Ji Hoe Society, the Rotary Club of Honolulu, the Association of the U.S. Army, the YMCA, and the Honolulu Symphony. He chaired the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii, presided over the Hawaii Alumni Association, served as a trustee of the University of Hawaii Foundation, and as a trustee of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and is an honorary trustee of the Mid-Pacific Institute.
He has guided and generously given to dozens of worthy, charitable causes and organizations, such as the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Inha University (located in Incheon, Korea), the University of Hawaii, Kyunggi High School Alumni Association, Hanahauoli school, Korean Christian Church, Pacific Asian Affairs Council, the Syngman Rhee Society, The Korean War Veterans Association (Aloha Chapter), the ROK Naval Academy Alumni Association, the 60th Anniversary Celebration Committee of the Founding of the Republic of Korea, the Hawaii-Korea Coordinating Council, the Korean Community Council of Hawaii, the Korean Pacific Weekly, and the U.S. Army Friendship Mission to Korea.
In recognition of his invaluable services and contributions to the communities, he has been honored by numerous organization. Listed below are some of his awards and designations:
The Republic of Korea's highest honor, Order of Civil Merit, First Class (Mugunghwa Medal), December of 2003
General chairman of the 2003 Centennial Committee of Korean lmmigration to the United States of America
Presidential Outstanding Community Service Award from the President of the Republic of Korea, 1991
1995 Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) Award-Distinguished Overseas Korean in Industry and Technology
Honorary Citizen of Special City of Seoul, 1995
Emeritus Regent of the University of Hawaii, Board of Regents
The University of Hawaii 75th Anniversary Rainbow Award for Distinguished Alumni, 1982
The University of Hawaii Alumni Association-1990 Overall Distinguished Alumnus Award
The University of Hawaii Regent's Medal Award-2001
The University of Hawaii College of Engineering Centennial Award-2008
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Engineering from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)-2010
Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year 2001 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Aloha Chapter
The Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Award
The Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award (first one awarded) - 2015
Mr. Kim has lived in Hawaii since 1952 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Hawaii in 1958.
Donna Mercado Kim - 2015
President of Senate, State of Hawaii
Senator Donna Mercado Kim is a graduate of Farrington High School, an undergraduate of the University of Hawaii and a graduate of Washington State University. In 1982, she was elected to the Hawaii State House of Representatives where she served from 1982 to 1985. In 1985, Senator Kim was elected to the Honolulu City Council and served until 2000. In 2000, Senator Kim was elected to the Hawaii State Senate from the 14th Senatorial District. She has chaired the Committee on Tourism, the Special Committee on Accountability, the Committee on Ways and Means, and the Committee on Tourism and Intergovernmental Affairs. Senator Kim presently has a prominent role as the 13th President of the Hawaii State Senate. She has been involved in community service for many years including serving as a member of the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce, Hawaii Korean Millennium Commission, and the Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials. She supported the visa waiver program for Koreans.
Senator Kim's awards and honors include Hawaii Jaycee's Three Outstanding Persons and the American Society for Public Administration's Outstanding City and County Administrator. Her other accomplishments include receiving the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies Fellowship, member of the Board of Directors for the Bank of America, and co-hosting a radio talk show.
Senator Kim is a third generation Korean; her father's families were from Pusan and Seoul, South Korea. Her father was a boxer who taught her to never to give up. She has learned well, as evidenced by the many successes achieved in her life.
Mary Jo Freshley - 2014
Mary Jo Freshley (aka Myung Sa Pai in the Pai Tradition) was born on September 25, 1934 in Homeworth, Ohio. She earned her M.S. in Education from Bowling Green State University. In 1961 she was recruited by Kamehameha Schools (KS) as a health and physical education teacher. In the 1960's, she incorporated Korean dance into the physical education curriculum. She taught at KS for 33 years until her retirement in 1994.
In 1962 Ms. Freshley took her first Korean dance class from Halla Pai Huhm. This resulted in a life long association with the Halla Huhm Studio. She has served as instructor, financial administrator and with the death of Ms. Huhm in 1994, the Studio director. Ms. Freshley has been instrumental in establishing the Halla Huhm Foundation whose mission is to maintain the Korean music and dance performance tradition established by Halla Huhm.
Ms. Freshley has made numerous trips to Korea to study with renowned instructors, including Ms. Huhm's teachers. Ms. Freshley has studied at the National Classical Music Institute and the Traditional Performing Arts Institute. Notable teachers include Kim Chon Heung and Lee Hyun-ku (dance/court dance), Kim Tae Sop (Changgo), Choe Chung-ung (Kayageum), Lee Hyun-ku (Pongsan T'alChum) and Kim Pyong Sop (Sol Changgo). In 1972 Ms. Freshley won 3rd place for Sung-Mu in the Foreigner's Contest in Seoul In 1985 she won 1st place for Sol Changgo.
In addition to countless performances at various Korean and non-Korean events in Hawaii, Ms. Freshley has performed both nationally and in Korea. Ms. Freshley has deservedly been recognized by Korean and local community groups, the Honolulu City Council and the Korean Government for her commitment to preserving and sharing Korean culture via dance and music. Haole by birth, she is truly Korean in spirit!
Jong Chan Lee - 2014
Jong Chan Lee was born on April 29, 1936 in Shanghai to a patriotic family. His father was the independence fighter Gyu-hak Lee and his mother, Gae-jin Cho. Many other family members fought during the independence movement and served the Korean government from its inception. For example, his great-uncle Shi-young Lee served as the first Vice President of the Republic of Korea alongside President Syngman Rhee.
Mr. Lee is a graduate of the 16th class of the Korean Military Academy (1960). He also earned a master's degree in public administration from Seoul National University.
Mr. Lee has strived to keep up with the changes globally as well as in Korea and has published many works including, Reform and Moderatism, Strife for a New Era, Towards a Digital Korea, and Dominating the Junction of Globalization.
Mr. Lee is a distinguished civil servant, having served in government: Diplomat in London as Counselor in 1973; 4 terms as National Assemblyman from 1981 - 1996; Democratic Justice Party's Floor Leader from 1981-1985; Minister of Political Affairs in 1988; Secretary-General of Democratic Justice Party in 1988-89; Democratic Liberal Party's Candidate for President in 1992; Director-General of National Intelligence Service in 1998-1999; Chairman of Board of Directors, International Business Center Forum 2003- present.
Mr. Lee played a critical role in the centennial celebration of Korean immigration to US in 2003 as the Chairman of Korea Committee, Centennial Committee of Korean Immigration to United States. He has made a significant contribution by bringing awareness of 100 years of Korean-American history to our motherland Korea. Perhaps this is attributable to his love for Hawaii as it goes way back to his researching days at the East-West Center, and many subsequent visits to the Islands. He's almost a Kamaaina!
Esther Kwon Arinaga - 2013
Esther Kwon Arinaga is a retired public interest lawyer, writer, and community worker. Her father, Doin Kwon, was among the first wave of Korean immigrants to Hawaii, arriving in 1905, and her mother, Hee-kyung Lee, was an early picture bride. Her parents were active in the Korean independence movement in Hawaii and were recognized as Independence Patriots by the Republic of Korea in 2004. A graduate of Roosevelt High School, Arinaga attended the University of Hawaii, where she received her undergraduate degree in Government, graduate degree in Asian Studies, and law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law.
She has served on many boards and commissions, including the first State Commission on the Status of Women, Hawaii Council for the Humanities, the Judiciary History Center, Hawaii Bar Foundation, and ACLU-Hawaii. She was active in planning and fund raising for the 2003 Centennial Celebration of Korean Immigration to the United States. Currently, she serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hawaiian Historical Society.
Arinaga is coeditor of Allan Saunders: The Man and His Legacy and a contributor and consultant to many other books, including Montage: An Ethnic History of Women in Hawaii ("Contributions of Korean Immigrant Women") and Century of the Tiger: One Hundred Years of Korean Culture in America 1903-2003.
Margaret Chung - 2013
At the twilight of my chronological years, and as a second-generation American Korean, I would like to first reflect on the great opportunities and privileges that our country, the United States of America, has given me and others by allowing the early immigration of our parents to seek a better future for themselves and their children.
Today, we can all be very proud of the many well-known American citizens of Korean ethnicity who have and are contributing their talents and expertise in all areas our lives---not only to the well-being of our great country, but also throughout the world, many of whom are directly related to the early immigrants.
For me personally, my life's involvement were with the federal and state judicial systems , and in the corporate world of banking and retailing. In addition, through the years, I have been involved in conversational Korean language classes which have given me a more intimate understanding of our ancestors cultural achievements.
In the new year, may you all receive bountiful blessings in all areas for you and your loved ones!
Kam Sa Ham Ne Da !
Nam Young Chung - 2013
Nam Young Chung was born in 1916 in Waialua to Doo Ock Chung and Bong Ah lee Chung, a picture bride. His father was a store clerk at the Waialua plantation store, which was managed by Yu Ho Kim, father of Donald C.W, Kim. later Doo Ock Chung became a merchant tailor through a correspondence school and apprenticed under Won Kiu Ahn, grandfather of Judge Karen Ahn.
Nam Young, meaning South Dragon, graduated from Leilehua High School. He received a BS degree in agriculture from the University of Hawaii in 1938 and taught on Kauai before joining army where he served from 1941 to 1948. He was assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture and later to the Korea Agriculture Association under the U.S. Military government in Korea.
While he was serving in Korea, Nam Young married Sook Cha Oh in the Throne Room of the Capitol Building and had a wedding reception in Kyunghoiru in Seoul before returning to Hawaii. After discharge from the army, Nam Young attended veterinary school at Iowa State University. He graduated in 1953 and set up practice in Kaimuki where he and his wife raised 4 children. Nam Young Chung has been a member of the Rotary Club of West Honolulu and the Korean University Club. Pastimes include marathon running, golfing, and fishing in Alaska.
Dewey H. Kim - 2013
Dewey Hongwoo Kim is Chancellor Emeritus University of Hawai'i, for service as chief executive of the seven college State community college system. He served for over a decade on the Center for Korean Studies Building Fund Group. Like other group members, he was an early large financial donor. He financed a Center's post-doctoral program for Korean university English faculty who spent a year in residence at the University of Hawaii.
In 1994 he was honored by the University of Hawaii Alumni Association by being included in its first class of Distinguished Alumni.
After retirement from the University of Hawai'i, he served as Director, Pacific and Asian Affairs for the Washington-based, largest non-profit governmental consulting firm, the Public Administration , Service. One of its commissions was development of a water works computer program for the Korean government. He also served several years as a Director for Island Federal and its successor, First Federal Savings and loan, and as President of Pacific Food Services.
Sung Kun (Joe) Kim - 2013
Sung Kun (Joe) Kim was born in North Kohala as the fifth child and only son of Hung Soon Kim and Park Young Chin. When he was one year old, his family moved to Wahiawa in 1924. After graduating from Leilehua Intermediate and High School, Sung Kun joined the U. S. Army and served until 1948. Upon his discharge from military service, he started farming but gave up after seven difficult years. He then ventured into the television industry and worked as a broadcast technician until his retirement in January 1980. Sung Kun Kim married Duk Hee Chung in Seoul in 1959 and they raised 3 children in Wahiawa. He has been a member of the Wahiawa Korean Christian Church and Liliha Korean Christian Church. As a Dong Ji Hoi member since 1974, Sung Kun Kim served as vice president and president. He has also chaired the Dr. Syngman Rhee Scholarship committee for 17 years. From 1989 through 2002, Sung Kun Kim was president of the Tae Guk Club which was established in 1936 as an athletic club for boys of Korean ancestry. As the boys matured and married, their spouses were invited to join them. Thereafter, the Tae Guk Club became a social cultural club. The club also started to support a Korean orphanage. At the present time, Tae Guk Club is supporting the Aikwangwon, home for physically or mentally disabled.
Robert Ko - 2013
Bob Ko's mother, Park Mal Soon, was a 17-year old picture bride when she married Ko Chi Woon in 1923, and raised four children practically single-handed through her ingenuity and hard work, even though she didn't know a single word of English. She was a born entrepreneur and ventured into several small businesses throughout her lifetime, including a rooming house, a few vegetable stores, two carnation farms, and a Korean food manufacturing business. Starting in 1972, upon his mother's retirement, Bob and his siblings incorporated the food manufacturing business and ran the operations for thirteen years as Park's Brand Products, which was then bought out by Mike Irish.
Bob graduated from McKinley High School in 1949 and later earned an Associate Degree in Business/Marketing from Kapiolani Community College. He was a City employee and later an insurance agent. He was also a part-time National Guardsman rising to the highest enlisted rank of Command Sergeant Major. After a stint in active duty (Vietnam call-up), he worked for R.M. Towill Corporation. Donald Kim has been instrumental in Bob's involvement in various Korean organizations and events over the years. After retirement from RMTC in 1995, Bob and June Yoshida, his wife of 49 years, both volunteered as delivery persons for Hawaii Meals on Wheels and currently they are volunteer drivers with the American Cancer Society for cancer patients.
110th Anniversary of Korean Immigration to the United States
Henry & Rose Lee - 2013
Henry Nung Ju Lee was born in 1930 to father Gil Talk Lee of Pyongyang who arrived in Hawaii in 1903, and mother Varno Lee, a picture bride who arrived sometime before 1915. Gil Taik Lee was inducted into the U.S. Army on August 6, 1918 and was assigned to Company K, 1st Hawaiian Infantry. Gil Talk lee was honorably discharged on July 10, 1919 on demobilization. like his father, Henry Lee pursued a military career and served 24 years in the U.S. Army. Henry Lee was awarded the General Patton Distinguished Award for Excellence and the General McArthur leadership Award.
Henry lee was the first Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army of Korean ethnicity. He was Sergeant Major of the 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Academy. He was wounded during the Vietnam deployment and retired from the Army in 1969. Henry earned a degree in teaching from the University of Hawaii in 1974 and taught public school for five years. He, then, worked for the State of Hawaii, Department of Regulatory Agency as an Executive Officer for the Professional and Vocational Licensing Boards and Commissions and retired in 1989. In 1983, Henry lee was elected President of the Wahiawa lions Club after being a member for over 35 years. Henry was elected as President of the Hawaii Korean Chamber of Commerce in 1984 and was elected Chairman of the Wahiawa Neighborhood Board.
Rose Lee was born on the island of lanai on September 15, 1932 to Choon Sik Park and Clara Sung Me Yoon Park. Choon Sik Park was a field foreman at Dole Pineapple Company and Clara Park was a housewife, sewing for a living. Clara Park came to Hawaii at age two and worked as a seamstress on Lanai, at McInerny Department Store in Honolulu, and at Schofield Barracks during the WW II era. In 1966, she was fortunate enough to own a tailor shop at Fort Shafter.
Rose lee graduated from Leilehua High School and attended Cannon's School of Business. After helping her mother for many years, Rose took over her mother's shop in 1986. Rose Lee was the last Korean to continue the family legacy from WW II and operate a tailor shop in Wahiawa's "Korean Town." Rose lee served military and civilian customers as owner, operator, manager of 'fi Rose lee's Alteration Inc. for 45 years.
Henry lee and Rose lee have been married for 59 years. They have raised four wonderful children together.
Francis C. Pak - 2013
Francis Chin Chan Pak was born in Wahiawa in 1921 to Pak Ho-byeong and Kim Sook-ahn. Because of his mother's death six months after Francis' birth in December 1921, Francis was raised in the Salvation Army's Children's Home in Waialua, where Pak Ho-byeong served as a captain. Pak Ho-byeong with Francis returned to Korea in 1927 and Francis lived in Kimhae and Seoul until 1938. Upon his return to Hawaii in 1938, Francis worked on a California Packing Company pineapple plantation in Kunia. He attended Mills College (the present Mid-Pacific institute) in Manoa for 2 years from 1939. Francis started working at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard as an electrician's helper for 6 years from 1940. He married Etta Chung Hee Young in 1941.
Francis Pak worked as a translator/interpreter for the U. S. Army Intelligence in Gwangju, Korea from 1946 through 1949. He held various jobs in Hawaii from 1949 and retired in 1992. Francis Pak taught at the Korean language school run by Wahiawa Korean Christian Church in 1939 and organized young men's sports team in 1942. He served as a program director of the Koreanlanguage radio program at KHON for 2 years from 1949. He has been a member of the Korean National Association (Kook Min Hur) and served as president in 1966-1967. He attended both Korean Christian Church on Liliha Street and the First Korean Methodist Church on Keeaumoku Street. A talented musician, Francis has participated in various musical events.