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Orphanage visit
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Children from the Il Mag Won Orphanage watch as Wolf Pack members prepare hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken legs during a Kid’s Day July 24. Sixty-eight children started their 30-day summer vacation off right with the Wolf Pack. The children played games, went for a swim and even met Sparky the Fire Dog. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Roy Lynch)
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Wolf Pack treats children from local orphanage to day of fun

Posted 8/3/2010   Updated 8/3/2010 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Claudette Hutchinson
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/3/2010 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Wolf Pack volunteers invited children from the local orphanage to the base and treated them to a day of fun and activities July 24.

More than 64 children from the Il Mag Won Orphanage were treated to activities such as Humvee and fire truck static displays, a visit from Sparky the Fire Dog, swimming in the pool, a barbecue, and ice cream sundaes to top it all off.

"We go to the orphanage weekly and we try to do something special twice a year," said Tech. Sgt. Gaylord Winge, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron. "This is the first weekend of their summer vacation. We wanted them to start it off right."

The orphanage is sponsored by the base chapel and Wolf Pack volunteers visit every Wednesday to spend time with the children. Their weekly visits usually include English lessons and outdoor activities.

"When we visit the orphanage we read and teach English to the children. The children also help us with our Korean," said Tech. Sgt. Peter Rollins, 8th Fighter Wing equal opportunity office. "We also play catch, basketball; basically hang out with the kids. The more you go the better rapport you gain."

More than 21 Wolf Pack members volunteered to make this day a success for the children. According to Sergeant Rollins, giving back by volunteering is immensely rewarding and is part of his core beliefs.

"As a Christian and a father, I feel it is important for children to have good role models," he said. "What the Wolf Pack Chapel has built with the orphanage is outstanding. We have been blessed with a job, job security, and a means to support our family; why not support those who are without?"

The mission of the orphanage is to foster kids who don't have parents or can't be raised by their parents, said Kim Kuk-Jin, Il Mag Won Orphanage director, whose role is like being a father to the children.

For most of the children, this was their first visit to the base. At the beginning, the kids were unfamiliar with their surroundings. However, they enjoyed the programs offered by the volunteers before long, said Mr. Kim.

"My children loved the barbecue," he said. "It was a great opportunity for the kids to understand the U.S., and its people. It was the first time that half of the kids visited the base."

The volunteers worked hard to plan and organize the event, and to ensure it was successful. In the end, volunteers and staff were pleased with the outcome of the day. They were especially pleased with the smiles on the children's faces.

"The kids seemed to enjoy themselves," said Sergeant Winge. "I tried to keep the tempo up to keep them engaged. They seemed to enjoy the activities from start to finish."

"I was really impressed," Mr. Kim said. "I didn't expect such great programs to be provided by the volunteers. The volunteers were full of devotion to the event."

However, this day was not only rewarding for the children. The volunteers said they also felt they received just as much in return, and encouraged other members to volunteer.

"I love children and I try to get involved as long as work permits," said Tech. Sgt. Robin Bridges, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. "I guess I do it [volunteer] because I'm an only child and always wanted siblings. I recommend this to everyone on base, it's not only a bullet on their EPR [enlisted performance report] but it shows that we give back to the community. The morale is fantastic, not only for the kids but for adults too -- especially if you like kids."

There are three orphanages that base organizations sponsor. The fighter squadrons, public affairs, security forces and chapel also have several volunteer activities to choose from such as Orphanage visits, English Camps, and community outreach with The Little Sisters of the Poor and Elderly care home in Damyang.

"There is a lot to see and do in Korea and volunteering helps time pass by faster," said Sergeant Winge. "I miss my kids. I miss them a little less by volunteering at the Orphanage. It's almost like being home, but not."

"I am a representative of this orphanage. My role is to be a good father for 76 kids here," said Mr. Kim. "I hope my kids will have one-on-one sisterhood with volunteers from Kunsan Air Force base, which will last a long time."

View video: Kids Day at Kunsan

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