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American Korean Friendship Society Announces Recipients of 2019 New American Hero Award and Lifetime Achievement Award

The American Korean Friendship Society (AKFS) has announced its 2019 New American Hero Award winner.

AKFS presents the award each year to an American of Korean ancestry who has made significant and noteworthy contributions to the United States and has made his fellow Korean-Americans proud. The purpose of the award is to recognize the awardee’s patriotism for the United States, and to encourage other immigrants to follow in the awardee’s footsteps. The Award comes with a $10,000 donation to an appropriate cause or nonprofit.

This year’s honoree is the leader of the elite Marine Raiders, 2019 NAHA Award Recipient Major General Daniel Yoo, Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, or MARSOC. Major General Daniel Yoo, former acting commander of the First Marine Division, is the highest ranking Korean-American general officer in the United States military. “2019 NAHA Selection Committee did an extraordinary job to elect a great American patriot and leader as this year’s NAHA awardee” AKFS chairman Frank Blake praised the selection of Major General Yoo.

For more information on Major General Daniel Yoo, see

AKFS will also recognize Mr. Jay Eun, former Chairman of the Korean-American Association of Greater Atlanta, with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Jay Eun has served as a board member, volunteer and supporter of AKFS since 2002. Jay Eun, the founder and CEO of Golden Stella, is one of most respected leaders in the Korean-American community and is well known for his selfless service to the community. See https://gasiantimes.com/gat-25-2/jay-eun.

The annual Award dinner will be held at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North at 6:00 p.m. on January 25, 2019. Thomas Hubbard, former diplomat and U. S. Ambassador to South Korea and the Philippines, will deliver the keynote speech.

As more and more Americans of Korean ancestry serve their community and the United States, Korean-Americans are viewed as an increasingly valuable ethnic group. Indeed, countless patriots in the Korean-American community have served their adopted nation in significant ways. The American Korean Friendship Society has recognized nine individuals in the past with its New American Hero Award.

•  Dr. Tom Kim of Knoxville, Tennessee, who founded the Free Clinic for Working Poor and has been operating the Clinic for over two decades.

•  Lieutenant Colonel John Oh, medical doctor and U.S. Army general surgeon, for his heroic service for his country to include service in Afghanistan, where he performed emergency surgery removing an unexploded rocket propelled grenade (RPG) protruding from a wounded soldier’s body.

•  Dr. Samuel “Sammy” Lee, the first Asian-American to win an Olympic Gold Medal for the United States, and the first man to win back-to-back gold medals (1948 and 1952) in Olympic platform diving.

•  Jason Pak, West Point graduate, Captain of the U.S. Army (Ret.) and an elite Ranger, who was wounded by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan and serves as an inspiration for veterans and civilians alike.

•  James Suh (March 2, 1977 – June 28, 2005), U.S. Navy SEAL, who was part of a dedicated Naval Special Warfare team fighting the Taliban and volunteered to go on a mission to rescue his fellow SEAL members who were trapped by insurgent fire. He was one of 16 troops killed when an MH-47 Chinook helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan.

•  US. Army Colonel Young-Oak Kim (January 29, 1919 – December 29, 2005), a highly decorated U.S. Army combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War, a civic leader and humanitarian. He was a member of the U.S. 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and a combat leader in Italy and France during World War II.

•  Dr. Peter Meong Rhee, chief of acute care surgery and medical director of the Marcus Trauma Center, is an American surgeon, medical professor, and military veteran. During his 24 years in the U.S. Navy, Rhee served as a battlefield casualty physician in Afghanistan and Iraq.

•  Steve Stirling, a Korean-born American, is the president/CEO of the Medicine Assistant Program (MAP) International, a Christian global health organization that provides medicine, prevents disease, and promotes health in some of the world’s poorest countries. MAP International has provided more than $6 billion in medicine and health supplies to communities in need since its inception in 1954.

•  Byung J. “BJay” Pak 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, and Newnan. Mr. Pak had previously served as an Assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Georgia and a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. BJay has been an extraordinary role model for Asian Americans.

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