The American Korean Friendship Society celebrates 20th Anniversary and announces the 2016 New American Hero Award recipients.
By Anna Kim
The American Korean Friendship Society (AKFS) presented two Korean-American heroes with the New American Hero Award at the end of last month at Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Cobb Galleria. The honorable awardees were the late Colonel Young-Oak Kim, US Army, and Dr. Peter Rhee.
The late U.S. Army Colonel Young-Ok Kim was a U.S. Army combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War. He dedicated his life to public service and was an active leader of several non-profit organizations for underserved communities throughout Southern California. He was awarded over 19 medals: the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts and more.
Dr. Peter Rhee, Chief of Acute Care Surgery and Medical Director of the Marcus Trauma Center, is an American surgeon, medical professor, and military veteran. During his 24 years in the United States Navy, Rhee served as a battle field casualty physician in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2011, Rhee was the attending physician to U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, as well as other victims of the 2011 Tucson shooting. As of June 2016, Dr. Rhee has been Grady Memorial Hospital’s new Chief of Acute Care Surgery and Medical Director of the Marcus Trauma Center.
The AKFS and attendees lavished big applause to the two big heroes.
“To be able to recognize these new Americans for their extraordinary accomplishments and contributions to the US is our honor,” said Frank Blake, Chair of the AKFS. “They sacrificed their life for the cause of freedom. They deserve this honor and we will continue to share lots of anecdotes about heroes who make an impact on our life.”
A Korean delegate also delivered a speech for the recipients to the attendees.
“South Korea and America have been staunch allies for decades over security and economy,” said Sang Ho Lee, Vice Consul General of Republic of Korea, Atlanta. “We hope this deep-rooted alliance will continue to march forward.”
The two awardees were presented a $10,000 cash prize and the 500 attendees relished five-course dining having an interchange of encouragement to one another.
The AKFS claims that the Korean heroes’ feat will never be lost, even in the shuffle.
“The New American Hero Award is to honor Americans of Korean ancestors who have made significant and noteworthy contributions to the United States and its communities,” said Sunny K. Park, President of the AKFS. “The AKFS seeks to recognize Korean immigrants and their descendants for their contributions to their adopted nation and to their new neighbors.”
The American Korean Friendship Society, Inc. (AKFS) is a non-profit and non-political civic organization established in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia.
The organization’s mission is to celebrate and strengthen the unique relationship between the peoples of the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. The organization created the New American Hero Award to recognize Korean descendants who had made extraordinary contributions to America.
Sang Ho Lee, Vice Consul General of Republic of Korea, Atlanta, delivers a speech.
The 2016 New American Hero Award.