Kimchi brings community around Camp Casey together

by Pfc. Lim Gwan-ho
USAG Red Cloud Public Affairs

DONGDUCHEON – The making of kimchi, that spicy staple of the Korean diet and one of the symbols of Korea’s culture, brought together members of the Korean community recently in Dongducheon City’s Bosan District, which takes in Camp Casey. In the process it gave a few U.S. Soldiers from the Casey Enclave a chance to spend time with Korean people and gain insight into the host-nation culture.

Kimchi is cabbage that’s been combined with salt, red pepper, garlic, ginger and radishes, and is then fermented.

A local district civic group, the Bosan Saemaul Committee, hosted the kimchi-making event Nov. 18 and 19 at the Bosan District office in Dongducheon. About 40 community volunteers and about eight to 10 civic officials, took part.

The event saw members of the committee, the Bosan District office, a local church, and a few U.S. Soldiers working side-by-side to make kimchi.

Event organizers said the purpose was to help foster cohesion within the local community, to help its less fortunate members, and to at the same time continue friendly ties with the local U.S. military community.

The volunteers packed 185 boxes of kimchi to be given later to less fortunate members of the community, including children’s homes, one-parent families, and elderly persons who live alone. Among those who attended the kimchi-making event were Dongducheon City Mayor Oh Sea-chang and Gregory B. Kirkland, Deputy to the Garrison Commander, U.S. Army Garrison Casey.

After the kimchi was packed, volunteers shared a meal made of fresh kimchi, steamed pork, white rice and rice cake.

“It is nice to get to help people in the community and meet new local Korean people,” said Pfc. Jade Hoffman, an unmanned aerial systems operator from Company D, 8th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, out of Fort Hood, Texas. The unit is serving a nine-month rotation in Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division/ROK US Combined Division.

“They taught me how to make kimchi and I feel like I got closer to them,” Hoffman said.

“We have been hosting this event every year for more than 40 years since the foundation of the committee,” said Kim Young-taek, a Bosan Saemaul Committee member. “We have hosted many other similar events to help less fortunate members of the community and to bring the community together.”

“U.S. Soldiers have been very helpful, and I am looking forward to seeing more participation in other volunteer events, and to further interaction,” Kim said. He said U.S. Soldiers have participated for the past decade or so.

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