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Members of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea carry books into Kunsan City Library last month. Wolf Pack members mounted a book drive that brought in 1,270 English language children’s books for donation to the library.

Members of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea carry books into Kunsan City Library last month. Wolf Pack members mounted a book drive that brought in 1,270 English language children’s books for donation to the library. (Joshua DeMotts / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

Members of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea carry books into Kunsan City Library last month. Wolf Pack members mounted a book drive that brought in 1,270 English language children’s books for donation to the library.

Members of the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea carry books into Kunsan City Library last month. Wolf Pack members mounted a book drive that brought in 1,270 English language children’s books for donation to the library. (Joshua DeMotts / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

Members of the 8th Fighter Wing help bundle books last month for eventual delivery to the Kunsan City Library. From left are Capt. Nicole Young, 1st Lt. Brooke Brander, Tech. Sgt. Daniel Buse and Capt. Marcos Lopez.

Members of the 8th Fighter Wing help bundle books last month for eventual delivery to the Kunsan City Library. From left are Capt. Nicole Young, 1st Lt. Brooke Brander, Tech. Sgt. Daniel Buse and Capt. Marcos Lopez. (Erien Clark-Chasse / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — Around the New Year, Air Force Capt. Richard Komurek was just months from ending his tour at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.

“We kind of have a motto at Kunsan. It says ‘Leave your mark,’” said Komurek, who until May 24 was public affairs chief for Kunsan’s 8th Fighter Wing, also called the Wolf Pack.

“I was thinking for myself and maybe for some other people who’ve been here just about a year and are getting ready to leave, ‘What could we do to leave our mark? Something that would stay … and help the community.’”

Then, one day in February, Komurek was browsing the local city library and noticed it had no books in English. Learning English is an intense pursuit among young South Koreans, and English books for youngsters are in demand as a learning tool.

“And it just kind of clicked,” he said.

Soon he was asking then-Wolf Pack commander Col. Brian Bishop for permission to launch a book drive for the Kunsan City library. Bishop said yes. Komurek immediately called the library and asked whether they’d be interested in book donations. Yes, thank you, they would.

So on March 8, Komurek sent out a basewide e-mail asking airmen to donate English language children’s books. Representatives from each of the wing’s four groups — operations, mission support, maintenance, and medical — helped organize the drive within their respective organizations.

For almost all of the Wolf Pack’s 2,600 airmen, Kunsan is a one-year “remote” tour unaccompanied by families.

“If we had families here it would probably have been a lot easier because families would have had books on hand to donate,” said Komurek. “Single airmen, people without children, don’t have English books sitting here on Kunsan.”

So airmen asked families and friends in the States if they’d send books. Some airmen raised money and ordered books on the Internet. Others traveled several hours to Osan Air Base and bought books from the base exchange.

“I would say probably around the third week, books started flowing in,” Komurek said.

They ended the book drive April 17 with 1,270 books ranging from Harry Potter and Doctor Seuss titles to “Winnie the Pooh” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

A group of Air Force officers from Kunsan’s Company Grade Officer’s Council wrapped the books. Then, on May 3, officers drove them in two vehicles to the Kunsan City Library.

The library director and staff received them warmly, Komurek said “He thought the books would be very popular with the people using the library.”

An area in the children’s book section since has been set aside for the English language books.

“They should be out on the shelf for patrons by the middle of June,” Komurek said.

“It allows children and parents and everybody a way to learn English at their convenience,” he said. “Whenever they go to the library, those books are there, ready for them.”

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