Why did a wildfirefighter who lost his home in the wildfires receive an award from the governor of Gangwon Province?

Forest firefighters who lost their homes in a wildfire received a commendation from the governor of Gangwon Province

A man whose home of three generations was reduced to ashes by a sudden wildfire received a commendation from the governor of Gangwon Province for protecting his neighbors’ homes.

Mr. Ahn is a 70-year-old resident of Gyeongpo-dong, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do.

Mr. Ahn received a commendation from the Governor of Gangwon Province for his efforts in responding to the wildfire disaster.

The city of Gangneung, which nominated him for the award, said, “Mr. Ahn saw his home and restaurant burned down in the wildfire, but he immediately started extinguishing the wildfire and tried to reduce the damage to residents.” “He worked every day even though he was displaced, and he was the number one recommendation for the governor’s citation, considering the grievances of his colleagues and his efforts to improve his work.” He added.

Mr. Ahn received the award on behalf of the civilian population of Gangneung.

Mr. Ahn poses for a photo at the award ceremony with the recipients of the governor’s commendation. (Photo: Gangwon Mountain Fire Prevention Center)

“I was just doing my job, but the award is a bit excessive,” Ahn told a KBS reporter, adding, “I am very grateful to receive this award because the officials of Gangneung City put a lot of heart into it.”

Mr. Ahn has been a professional forest firefighter in his hometown of Gangneung for over 20 years.

His duties included monitoring forest fires to prevent them and fighting them when they occurred.

Tired of living away from home, he moved back to his hometown스포츠토토, opened a restaurant near his home, farmed, and worked on forest fire prevention activities during the spring and fall forest fire warning periods.

But the wildfires in Gyeongpo-dong, Gangneung, in April put an end to the veteran firefighter’s career.

When he heard about the wildfire, he rushed home, but the flames had already reached his neighborhood.

Realizing that the flames had spread to his home and restaurant, and that he couldn’t put out the fire due to the strong winds, Mr. Ahn turned around and walked away.

His feet led him to the homes of his neighbors, who had not yet been affected by the wildfire.

Mr. An stayed up until 2 a.m. the next day fighting community fires, hoping to save one more house from the flames.

Mr. Ahn’s house and restaurant burned to ashes by the wildfire (Photographer: Koo Min-hyuk)

Mr. Ahn Young-sik looks at his burnt house (Photographer: Koo Min-hyuk)

After being displaced, Ahn lived in a temporary shelter at the Gangneung Ice Arena, but continued to work as a forest firefighter.

When KBS learned of this, they asked him for an interview, but he kept refusing.

It wasn’t a big deal, he was just doing his job, and he didn’t want to be on TV.

However, after some persistence, Ahn agreed to the interview, and his day as a victim was shown to the nation on KBS 1TV’s 9 o’clock news.

*Related article (For those who want to know more about the story, you can watch it by entering the link).
A day in the life of a 70-year-old forest firefighter…despite losing his home to a wildfire(2023.04.15)

“I want to work as a forest firefighter until my physical strength is exhausted,” said Mr. Ahn Young-sik.

Mr. Ahn’s spring forest fire watch period ended last month (May) on the 15th, so he is currently without a job.

Forest firefighters can only work during the spring fire season (February 1-May 15) and fall fire season (November 1-December 15).

With no plans for restoration of the burned house yet, Mr. Ahn is staying in temporary housing at a pension.

Every morning, he visits his burnt-out house and other survivors to see how they are doing.

Ahn Young-sik talking to the press (Photographer: Koo Min-hyuk)

We asked Mr. Ahn what he plans to do as a forest firefighter.

Mr. Ahn replied

“I plan to work during the fall forest fire season this year. The more I work, the more I feel proud of my job, and even though it’s only a small amount of money, it’s good for my family.
I’d like to work until I’m physically able, at least until I’m 80…. Hehehe”.

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