Opening another world; one book at a time

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Erien Calrk-Chasse
  • 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The 8th Fighter Wing donated more than 1,270 English language children’s books to the Kunsan City library May 3 after a book drive that ran from March 8 to April 17.

The book drive, the first of its kind at Kunsan Air Base, collected books as a way to help teach English to Korean youth in the local area.

“In February I visited the Kunsan City Library out of curiosity and discovered there were no English language books there. I know from experience living in Germany that children’s books can be a great asset for people of any age to learn a foreign language,” said Capt. Richard Komurek, 8th FW public affairs. “Since Korean elementary students must learn English starting in the second grade we figured this was a great way the Wolf Pack could contribute to the community.”

With this idea, Capt. Komurek asked for a representative in each of the groups.

“The group representatives helped spread the word and collect the books from their squadrons, so without their hard work and participation it would have been impossible to get so many books in such a short period of time,” he said.

The group representatives were Senior Airman Matthew Mayer, Senior Airman Celine Gueit, Senior Airman Scott Grittner and Tech. Sgt. Daniel Buse.

“They all did a great job of helping to collect books for the children of Kunsan City,” said Capt. Komurek. However, the 8th Maintenance Group representative, Sgt. Buse, collected 961 books.

“When I went around to my units some of the Airmen wanted to give money instead of trying to find or order a book in English. Once I thought about it I came up with the idea of buying books on E-Bay with money they donated. The money bought us 400 books and the rest were donated,” Sgt. Buse said. “This was really great and once I mentioned it was for kids it really got the ball rolling and everything seemed to take care of itself.”

With all the new books in English the library established a special English language section for children.

The library director was very impressed by the number and quality of the books that were donated and said he believes it will be very popular with families and children who visit the library, said Ms. Rosemary Song, 8th FW public affairs, who helped coordinate the delivery of the books to the library.

When it comes to community relations, the key to success is understanding the community and their particular needs.

“I’ve heard from several Koreans that English language books for children are difficult and expensive to get in Korea, so our donation will allow Korean families to enjoy books that they normally wouldn’t be able to get on their own,” said Capt. Komurek.

This donation was an extension of the wing’s other English teaching programs.

“The Wolf Pack has a program where volunteers teach English to Korean students on the weekends, which is really great for kids. However we wanted to take that concept one step further and do something that is accessible to more people on any day of the week,” he said.

“It’s a way to Leave Our Mark and help make Kunsan a better place for everyone,” he said.

For information about public affairs programs call 782-4705. (Courtesy of Pacific Air Forces)