Thanksgiving Day gifts for fireman who has a special ability

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Thanksgiving Day gifts for fireman who has a special ability
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Image by U.S. Army Korea (Historical Image Archive)
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Thanksgiving Day gifts for fireman who has a special ability

Story and photo by Lee Seung-bin
seungbin.lee@korea.army.mil

DAEGU GARRISON — Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We know that equality of individual ability has never existed and never will, but we do insist that equality of opportunity still must be sought.” On Camp Henry, the USAG Daegu Fire Department has an employee who well represents the message this great American leader and former U.S. President attempted to convey.

Mr. Yi, Song yong, Fire Protection Inspector, USAG Daegu Fire Department, is truly that man. A highly competent and reliable fireman, the Korean National employee has been hard at his job for 15 solid years. His story is one of pride and diligence. During this season of thanksgiving, he reminds us all of just what hard work and opportunity is about.

A fireman at heart, for as long as he can remember, Yi has always stepped up to the challenge. Battling fires, dealing with human emotion and loss, he could not however, have imagined how his world would change when his own health became an issue of concern. “I had to have surgery on both my knees as a result of an unfortunate accident. That was followed by complications with my kidney. I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease as a result of complication caused by medication. That was in 2002. As my illness became worse, I would later find it necessary to receive kidney dialysis. I’ve been on dialysis for the past three years,” said the fireman.

Until the accident, Yi had been as active as they come. He said, “The job of a firefighter really is about selfless service. When I realized my disabilities could influence my job enough to change my whole life, I fell into a slump. For some reason, however, I just couldn’t allow news of the disabilities to beat me. Deep inside I felt I could not let it bring me down.”

Determined not to be defeated, and to remain an active and productive member of the fire-fighting team, Yi’s responsibilities shifted from fireman to fire-inspector. “I was not going to allow my disabilities to prevent me from being the productive person I knew I could be,” commented Yi. The fire-inspector’s drive would be hard to match. His determination and commitment have practically become an ideal model for perseverance…so much so that he has been selected the 2011 USFK Disabled Employee of the Year.

Yi said, “I could not have done achieved these great things if it had not been for my wife’s constant encouragement, as well as that of my co-workers who always support and motivate me. I have to say that my biggest support has come from Deputy Fire Chief Andrew Allen, especially. I have to go to the hospital three times a week for dialysis, but the deputy fire chief is always considerate of my situation and my feelings.”

At that comment, Allen chimed in stating, “The reason why I decided to work with Mr. Yi, is not because he is an employee with a disability, but because he is a good worker. His disabilities amounted to nothing compared to the great work he is able to provide the USAG Daegu fire department.”

Yi said that he has not forgotten how he felt when he found himself confronted with a whole range of new challenges and opportunities in his life. He said, “All the support I have received and continue to receive is greatly appreciated. This Thanksgiving holiday is a perfect time for me to say thank you for allowing me this priceless opportunity to make a difference as a member of the USAG Daegu community, and Fire department. I will devote my time and my service to the USAG Daegu community because they have given me a most unforgettable thanksgiving gift. They have given me a chance and an opportunity to be the best that I can be.”

Gifts for baby
gifts for thanksgiving
Image by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire
Thanksgiving and Lisa & Ian baby shower.

Gifts for baby
gifts for thanksgiving
Image by Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire
Thanksgiving and Lisa & Ian baby shower.

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