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Korean Church honors Lovell Korean War Veterans

June 20, 2014

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Korean War Veteran Tom Mulderink and his wife, Diane, look at the book about Korea included in a gift bag presented by members of the SAE (New) Eden Presbyterian Church to Veterans residing in the Lovell Federal Health Care Center Community Living Center

June 20, 2014

Korean SAE (New) Eden Presbyterian Church honors Lovell Federal Health Care Center Korean War Veterans, presents them with gifts in ceremony

Church leaders and members visit Lovell FHCC to meet with Korean War Veterans residing in Community Living Center

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. – Navy Veteran Jim Frohnapfel’s bags were packed for a vacation with his wife, Pat, when he received the telegram to report to Glenview Naval Air Station by 8 a.m. the next day.

The year was 1950, just three years after Frohnapfel was released from duty in World War II. The telegram was a summons to serve in what would become the Korean War. He recently told the story of his service to a rapt audience of SAE (New) Eden Presbyterian Church members gathered at the Lovell Federal Health Care Center Community Living Center CLC.

“They held a muster, formed a squadron, we went aboard a carrier, and we were in San Diego the next morning,” he said. He served for nine months on the U.S.S. Boxer, as an aviation machinist mate in the VF-721 Fighter Squadron. “I never got to put a foot on shore, but I was there.”

More than 20 elders, pastors and members from the church - located in Seoul, South Korea - visited the FHCC June 13 for a presentation of gifts to Korean War Veterans. Church members requested the visit so they could honor and thank the Veterans for their sacrifices.

"Because of their sacrifices, South Korea can enjoy the peace and prosperity today," wrote Pastor Brian BumChul Cho in correspondence before the visit. "Because of them, South Korea is now considered one of the top nations in the world."

Honoring Korean War Veterans isn’t a new thing for SAE Eden Church, which for eight years has orchestrated visits for Veterans to South Korea to allow them to revisit battlefields and to honor them in ceremonies. Head Pastor Kang Suk So explained that this year, the church traveled to Veterans in the United States who can't make the trip to South Korea because of physical challenges. Their trip to the United States included hosting an appreciation banquet in Wheeling for Veterans, to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the Korean War.

"We will never forget what you did for Korea," Pastor Kang Suk So said at the event at Lovell FHCC. “Because of your efforts and sacrifices, we enjoy happiness and freedom today.

”I wish to promote friendship between Korea and the United States of America … a friendship that is getting stronger every day,” he said. “We will continue to pray for you.”

The women of the church joined the church pastors and elders to sing “Arirang,” the unofficial anthem of Korea. Pastor Ju Ok Park, a tenor opera singer, also serenaded the 11 Veterans in attendance and their caregivers with several solos.

Church elders and pastors then dropped to their knees and bowed before the Veterans in a traditional Korean sign of respect.

The event ended with a cake-cutting. CLC resident and Korean War Veteran Lester Whipkey helped the church leaders cut the cake, which church members served to every person in attendance.

Claire Carlson, Frohnapfel’s daughter, was overwhelmed with the depth of gratitude shown by the church members. "I thought it was beautiful," she said after the ceremony. "It was very, very nice ... It means a lot to them to thank them for their sacrifices."

Carlson and Frohnapfel also attended the appreciation banquet, along with several other residents of the Lovell FHCC Community Living Center. “It was incredible,” said Frohnapfel, who turns 90 in July. “It is astounding what they do for Korean War Veterans, and they do it every year.”

See photos below. More photos and captions are available on Lovell FHCC’s Facebook page:
About the Lovell FHCC: The Lovell FHCC was established Oct. 1, 2010, as the nation’s only fully integrated Department of Veterans Affairs/Department of Defense federal health care center. The center has a dual mission of caring for Veterans and ensuring the medical and dental readiness of U.S. Navy recruits and active duty members serving in the region. Lovell FHCC, which is located in North Chicago, operates four Great Lakes Naval Station clinics and three community based outpatient clinics in McHenry and Evanston, Ill. and Kenosha, Wis. The facility also serves military families and retirees.