The American Korean Friendship Society celebrates their 22nd Anniversary and announces the 2018 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 on the last Friday of February, 2018, at the Le Meridien in Dunwoody.
The honorable awardees were Byung J. “BJAY” Pak, U.S. Attorney, Northern District, Georgia, and Steve Stirling, Chief Executive Officer, MAP International.
Byung J. “BJay” Pak, a Korean born American, is the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. The district includes 46 counties in Georgia, including the cities of Atlanta, Gainesville, Rome, Newnan, and a population of more than six million. BJay had served as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia, and he also served the people from the 108th District of Georgia for three terms as a state representative. He became a shining role model for immigrants, especially young students.
When he was appointed as a U.S. attorney, Washington politicians heartily congratulated him.
“President Trump’s selection of BJay Pak as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia was an excellent choice,” said U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson. “BJay brings the passion and expertise required for this role, and I have full confidence that he will make Georgians proud as he works to protect their interests and enforce the rule of law.”
Steve Stirling, another Korean-born American, is the President/CEO of the Medicine Assistant Program (MAP) International, a Christian global health organization that provides medicines, prevents disease, and promotes health in some of the world’s poorest countries. MAP International has provided more than $6 billion in medicines and health supplies to communities in need since its inception in 1954. MAP is recognized for its stewardship by charity watchdogs, each year achieving the highest ratings from the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, CNBC, ECFA, and Forbes magazine.
The AKFS and attendees lavished big applause to the two big heroes while the Hope Johns Creek Orchestra played inspirational music for them.
“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 deserve this honor and we will continue to share lots of anecdotes about heroes who make a phenomenal impact on our life.”
A Korean delegate also delivered a congratulatory speech for the recipients to the attendees.
“South Korea and America have been staunch allies for decades over security and economy,” said Young Jun Kim, Consul General of Republic of Korea, Atlanta. “Since I earned my Masters Degree in International Politics at Georgia State University in 1995, Georgia has been always on my mind. Likewise, we hope this bilateral deep-rooted alliance will continue to march forward.”
The two awardees were presented a $10,000 cash prize per capita 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 that the political status quo might set off.
“The New American Hero Award is to honor Americans of Korean heritage 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 AKFS also recognized Han Choi, Partner at Ballard Spahr with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership and passion for community servies over two decades. Mr. Choi assisted the State of Georiga by helping Korean companies to invest in Georgia. Han’s volunteer works include the College Football Hall of Fame, Atlanta International Women’s House, Georgia Center for Nonprofits, and Decatur Education Foundation. His beads of sweat were rewarded with life-long recognition.
This award ceremony culminated in the talk show with the keynote speaker Dan Cathy, CEO, Chick-Fil-A. Playing the trumpet, Mr. Cathy rolled out his ingenious plans mapped out for the year of 2018. When he tried, “Please eat chicken a lot,” in the Korean language, the attendees gave him two thumbs up laughing out loud and clapping their hands. This year’s award banquet was more abundant and well-prepared than ever.
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 have made extraordinary contributions to America.
The American Korean Friendship Society celebrates their 22nd Anniversary and announces the 2018 New American Hero Award recipients. Byung J. “BJAY” Pak, U.S. Attorney, Northern District, Georgia, is one of the honorable awardees.
Steve Stirling, Chief Executive Officer, MAP International, is one of the 2018 New American Hero Award recipients. <Photo=map.org>
Young Jun Kim, Consul General of Republic of Korea, Atlanta, delivers a congratulatory speech for the recipients to the attendees.
This award ceremony culminates in the talk show with the keynote speaker Dan Cathy, CEO, Chick-Fil-A.