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A Touching Story about Love and Gratitude

Posted March. 21, 2003 22:22,   


A pharmacist living in Sokcho City, Gangwon-do established a scholarship foundation two decades ago to help smart but poor students. The foundation was also a token of gratitude toward his stepfather who made him of today. At the opening ceremony, the stepfather gave words of encouragement to his stepson. ˝A single lamp lightened by a poor man is equal to ten thousand lamps lightened by a rich man.˝

The Donga Ilbo covered this heart-warming story between pharmacist Kim Chung-ho, now a 66-year-old man living in Geumho-dong, Sokcho City, and his stepfather Park Tae-song, who passed away 1996, in October 30 1982 edition.

On March 22nd, the Chungjung Scholarship Foundation will mark its 20th anniversary at Grand Hall of Sokcho Culture Center. 40 former and present scholarship students, some of whom are now grown-ups playing their due parts in the society, will gather to mark the anniversary.

Every year the foundation has selected two students from Yangyang High and Sokcho High who passed the college entrance test but cannot afford to pay tuitions. For those students, it has offered scholarship for four-full years or six-full years for medical students.

Of the recipients, the oldest is now 40 years old and the youngest is a freshman in college. 10 are from Seoul National University and the rest 30 from Korea, Sungkyun, Hanyang and Gangwon University. They became teachers, doctors, accountants, journalists and office workers.

Yet, what founder Kim is proud of is neither their profession nor their status. It is just the fact that they have grown up to become hard-working decent people. The society grows stronger, Kim believes, when its members are honest and working hard. ˝I felt happiest when they invited me to graduation ceremony, asked me to officiate their wedding ceremonies or visited me with their first child,˝ he said.

The relationship between Kim and his stepfather Park, the beginning of this story, dates back to 48 years ago. Park, a rich man running a brewery in Yangyang, Gangwon-do, was invited to a graduation ceremony in Yangyang Middle School in March 1955. There he saw young Kim credited for his good performance and diligence. Kim`s parents, however, could not afford to send him high school. Park brought him to his house and supported him until he graduated Tongyang Medical School (now Medicinal College of Kyunghee University).

27 years later, in 1982, Kim as a token of his gratitude to his loving stepfather, established the Chungjung Scholarship Foundation by contributing 50 million won. Before he set up the foundation, he wrote a letter to his stepfather.

˝I am what I am thanks to the love and support you gave me. I thought about buying a nice suit or sending some good medicines for you. But I reached a conclusion that the best way would be establishing a scholarship foundation.˝

It was not a large foundation giving scholarship hundreds of students, but he wanted to help one or two needy students as his father did for him. The fund now reaches 150 million won. To raise the fund, he sold an estate in Seoul in 1985 and has lived a needy life. Scholarship students call him a father. They formed `Chungjung Family Summer Camp` five years ago to have some time with Kim every year.

At the 20th ceremony, Kim plans to say this to his sons and daughters. ˝Be an honest person all the times. And know that you can become rich by helping others.˝ This is also a lesson he learned from his stepfather.