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Late firefighter's father donates life savings in memory of son

March 13, 2024 - 14:13 By Yoon Min-sik
Kim Gyeong-su (right) embraces a member of the National Fire Agency at Gangbuk Fire Station in Daegu on Tuesday. (Courtesy of National Fire Agency)

The father of a firefighter who perished on the job has donated 500 million won ($381,000) to the National Fire Agency, which the NFA on Tuesday vowed to use to provide scholarships for the bereaved family members of those who lost their lives in service.

The agency on Tuesday held a ceremony for the launch of the Firefighter Hero Kim Gi-beom Scholarship at Gangbuk Fire Station in Daegu. The scholarship was based on funds donated by Kim Gyeong-su, whose son Kim Gi-beom died at the age of 26 in 1988 during a search and rescue mission for three missing middle school students in Daegu.

Two other firefighters, Kim Hyeon-cheol and Lee Guk-hee, also lost their lives at the time. Those who served as firefighters with Kim attended Tuesday's ceremony, as did Lee's son, who also became a firefighter.

"I've missed him (my son) my entire life and have wished he could be remembered forever. I have nothing more to ask of now that a scholarship has been created in his name," Kim said.

The scholarship will provide school funds for children of firefighters who have died on the job. Other beneficiaries are descendants of the Gunwi-gun branch of the Korea War Bereaved Family Association, an organization for family members of police and soldiers who lost their lives during the 1950-53 Korean War.

The Daegu Fire Department named Kim an honorary fireman for his contribution.

"We thank him (Kim) for his noble cause and his bravery, allowing bereaved families of firefighters recover from similar pain ... Our organization will try our best to ensure that firefighter Kim Gi-beom's sacrifice was not in vain," said Deputy Fire Commissioner Kim Jo-il.

Kim Gyeong-su (third from right, front row) on Tuesday poses for a photo at Gangbuk Fire Station in Daegu during a scholarship fund donation ceremony made through his donation, which was in memory of his son who died while on duty as a firefighter in 1988. (Courtesy of National Fire Agency)