The concept being formed

When I got back home from my service in Korea I never again wanted anything to do with the military or with anything to do with the Korean War experience. Yes, for several years I did organize orphanage relief campaigns while still in Monterey Community College in Monerey, California but as soon as I got to UC at Berkeley I gave up those activities. I kept in conact with Grace Rue, Director of the Seventh Day Adventist orphanage where we took the kids when we closed our company orphanage, the Manassas Manor orphanage. She and her husband, George, had retired to Nordland, Washington and we exchanged visits several times over the years.

As the 50th anniversary of the Korean War drew closer I was getting upset finding that not a single activity related to the cost of the war to the civilian population of Korea and especially to the children. Everything highlighted the war as battles, deaths of servicemen, the Inchon invasion, the Pusan perimiter, etc. Our servicemen and women were treated as instruments of war. No where was the humanitarial aid our servicemen and women rendered the war child of Korea mentioned.

I felt that a major element of the war was being ignored. From my own experience I knew we who served in Korea were deeply involved in rescuing and caring for the war orphans that were everywhere one looked. I wrote to the US National Korean War Commemorative Committee and sought funding for studying the relationship of the servicemen and women and the children of Korea. That committee was not giving any money for research. I wrote grant proposals to many national and regional foundations seeking funds to conduct research on the topic of the GIs and the Kids. I got nothing.

Since I was committed to do the research I did it at my own expense. I formed a committee (of one person, myself) under the aegis of the City of Bellingham Park and Recreation Department called the Korean War Children’s Memorial Project and named myself as ‘Coordinator.’ I opened a KWCM fund in the Whatcom Community Foundation with several thousand dollars of personal funds. All donations to the project would go through that fund. In the next ten years my wife and I put over $50,000 of our own money into the project, most of it hrough the Whatcom Community Foundation. The total amount of funds spent on the project amounted to about $110,000 dollars. Most of the rest of the funds came from Korean War Veterans and from former Korean War Orphans. Only about $5,000 came from the Korean government.