Koo Pyong-hwoi, center in front row, honorary chairman of E1 Corp., donates 1 billion won to the United Services Organization (USO), Monday at the Hyatt Hotel in Seoul. / Courtesy of USO
By Lee Hyo-won
Koo Pyong-hwoi, honorary chairman of E1 Corp. (formerly LG Caltex Gas) donated 1 billion won (about $900,000) to the United Services Organization (USO), Monday, in Seoul, to help American troops and families stationed in Korea.
The donation came in time for the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War (1950-53), as a token of appreciation for the U.S. army’s peace-keeping role on the Korean Peninsula.
The USO is a private, non-profit organization designed to lift the morale of America’s troops and their families. Re-established in Korea during the Korean War, it provides entertainment programs and other services.
“I am happy to be able to give a small donation to the USO to express my profound appreciation and gratitude for the great job the U.S. troops have been doing in Korea,” Koo, said in a statement. “I am a strong believer in the Korea-U.S. alliance and without your help and presence, we could not have achieved economic miracle and sustain continuing growth.”
Koo has served as a council member of the USO for more than 50 years. The endowment will be used during the remaining part of this year, 2010 and in 2011, for various causes and programs for local American troops and families. Part of the donated funds will be used to build new American military facilities in Pyeongtaek.
The donation ceremony was held Monday at the Seoul Grand Hyatt. Major General Robert Williamson, Deputy Commander, 8th U.S. Army and Major General Dennis Jacobson, Deputy Chief of Staff for Relocating, USO Foundation Chairman Man-lip Choy and USO Korea Executive Director David Proch attended the event.
“The USO is deeply appreciative of Chairman Koo’s generosity and will help put the donation to good use supporting the American troops and their families serving in Korea. The power of people like Chairman Koo do extraordinary things, like writing history one donation at a time.
Chairman Koo is proof of our potential here in Korea where two great nations have forged the strongest alliance in the world. Our five USO centers in Korea are visited about 110,000 times a year, so this substantial donation will go a long way in providing a comfortable environment for the 28,500 troops and their families to can relax, enjoy themselves, and utilize top-quality equipment,” said Proch in a statement.
Koo, a brother of LG Group Founder Koo In-hoi, has served as chairman of Lucky Goldstar, the Korea Foreign Trade Association (currently the Korea International Trade Association) and the Korean-American Association.
On Tuesday, the chairman was also awarded the Korean America Friendship Award from the Korean-American Association during its annual Korean-American Friendship Night for his contributions to promote the friendly ties between the two countries.