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Woo Hong-sik Dies an Honorable Death

Posted June. 14, 2005 03:02,   


“He said ‘[I will] save money to help out my mother.’”

Woo Hong-sik (29), a Korean-American, died while chasing after a pickpocket who had snatched a woman’s purse. When his aunt Jeong Doo-nam (70) found out about the incident on June 13, she could not hide her tears.

Jeong said, “They were hard up when they first moved to the United States, but were a lot better off in recent years. That makes it even sadder. His death was an honorable death, but devastating for this family nonetheless.”

Woo Hong-sik, born in Daegu in 1976, followed his father to the United States at the age of two. They left to fulfill the “American Dream,” but the American life was not so easy for them.

They ran a boiler installing business and a donut shop to make ends meet, but things became increasingly difficult after they were broken into and swindled several times.

Woo’s father left to work at a school in Alaska to earn money, but passed away eight years ago of diabetes. Since then, the family has been living on the income from his mother, Jeong Sun-lan (53), and her small clothing store.

“Even with all their economic difficulties, Hong-sik never gave up his dream of being a broadcasting producer. He had always been enthusiastic about helping others. He was so good to his mother that after he found a job, he bought her a house. We were always so proud of him.”

Jeong Doo-nam voice cracked when she said, “I keep thinking back to when he said to me in awkward Korean a while ago, ‘I want to visit Korea more often so I can help you and mother out.’”