More than 100 Army Community Service workers gathered secretly Sep. 6 with flowers and gifts in their hands at the Hartell House. An unsuspecting ACS volunteer soon realized it was not a normal lunch party.
The hero of the event was ACS volunteer Hong Sook-hee. Hong has served as the Volunteer Program Manager for two years.
Hong will continue to volunteer at Yongsan ACS, but now in a different position.
“ I first started my job here to enhance my English skills, learn more about the American system and to make foreign friends.” Hong said. “Looking back, the experience I gained was not just an opportunity to put myself into the U.S. community, but it helped my professional development.”
Hong also worked as a volunteer Army Family Team Building Instructor, she planned, advertised and conducted AFTB Korean classes.
“When I first met her in January 2005, she was quiet, yet eager to learn and dedicated to serving the community,” said former coworker Joseph Gall. “When Sook-hee says she is going to doing something, she does it and gets the job done right the first time.”
Gall spoke about her outstanding performance. He also said that she is like a sponge when it comes to learning.
“At first, because of the differences of language and culture, I was pretty intense in the office,” Hong said. “My coworkers were so nice that I could easily adapt to ACS.”
Hong, also a mother, said her family has been a great supporter of her volunteer efforts.
“I feel both sorry and appreciation for my husband Eric, a U.S. Forces Korea Analyst, because of my work that made us unable to spend time as usual.”
During the luncheon, the ACS staff surprised Hong by presenting a pre-notice letter of her selection for the Presidential award, the “Points of Light.” She will receive the volunteer award later this month.
“I’m not going away from ACS,” she said. “I will continue my job as a volunteer at AFTB, Army Family Action Plan as usual.”