On March 11, the 19th annual Proud Dankookians(student of Dankook University) Awards ceremony was held at the Jukjeon campus. Dankook University’s(DKU) alumni association selected Moon Eun-su, (Class of 1983 School of Dentistry) as the Proud Dankookian of the Year. Chairman Jang Ho-sung, President Kim Su-bok, and Lee Sang-bae, President of the Alumni Association attended the awards ceremony to honor Moon Eun-su, who works as a director at the Moon Dental Hospital.
|▲ On March 11, the 19th annual Proud Dankookians Awards ceremony was held at the Jukjeon campus. (Photo from DKU website)|
The award winner Moon, entered DKU in 1983 majoring in dentistry and after graduation, he opened the Moon Dental Hospital in Cheonan, Chungcheong Province in 1995. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to improve the medical welfare of Cheonan citizens. Having established the Han-A Medical Foundation in 2002, he funded scholarship projects as well as participated in volunteer projects for the needy and who fall into medical blind spots. In 2018, he published an essay entitled, ‘What if I were a Reclinable Tree for Anybody’, and donated the proceeds to a scholarship fund after adding a matching donation. This year, he joined the Red Cross Shared Value(RCSV) group to fulfill his role in corporate social responsibility. The Dankook Herald interviewed Mr. Moon to learn more about his undergraduate years and his passion for volunteer work.
Q1. Congratulations on being selected as a proud Dankookian. How do you feel about it?
A. I'm a little embarrassed to receive such a big award because I just did what I had to do. Actually, I had very difficult school days. But thanks to the help from the school, I've grown to be who I am today. So, after graduation, I thought I should return the help I received during my hard times. In my position, I have shared, served, and worked hard. I think that’s the reason why I got this big award that I didn't expect.
Q2. Do you have any special memories or episodes from your days in DKU’s Dept. of Pre-Dentistry?
A. During one vacation I started working in a brick factory. I belonged to a team of three people who split our earnings equally for cutting as many bricks as we could. At that time, I was the youngest, so I usually took the hardest task to the point where my shoes were full of sweat after an hour of work. It was a time when I was full of complaints, feeling sorry for myself because I thought I was the only one doing hard work when all the other students were enjoying their vacation. One day, when I saw dark clouds coming at the foot of Heuksung Mountain, I suggested to my team that we stop working because it is hard to cut the bricks when they are soaked in rain. My 17-year-old older partner responded in a small, tearful voice, "What should we do? It rained a lot this month, so we have not cut many bricks. My wife and children are suffering as a result. Let's cut a little more before it rains." At that time, I was so shocked by his words and appearance that I couldn't say anything. I could only find the energy to keep working until dark. Of course, it didn't rain after all. That day, I learned that there are a lot of people who are really struggling from hardships and the memory has served as an opportunity for me to learn compassion for others.
Q3. We learned that you are making various social contributions through your volunteer activities. Can you tell us about it?
A. As I said before, I started helping others when I was a student. In 1993, I started offering free medical treatment for prisoners at the Cheonan Open Prison. Since the opening of the hospital, I have been giving free medical treatment to inmates for nearly 30 years and guidance as a dentist. Also, I formed a volunteer group called ‘Moonbaragi’ in the hospital, and went to remote areas with my employees on holidays to treat those in need. Currently, as a chairman of the Business Advisory Committee, I'm working to help people in need and to encourage more volunteers to get involoved. I also became a member of the Honor Society, known as the ‘fruit of love’, to spread a culture of donation. As the founding president of the Honor Society Chungnam Club, I’m gathering like-minded people who are interested in practicing nobles oblige. In addition, I established the Cheonan Welfare Foundation to help people in need and served as the first and second chairman of the board. At the same time, as a chairman of the National Council for the Welfare of Local Governments, I cooperated with the chairmen of the National Welfare Foundation in promoting the welfare foundation nationwide.
Q4. Why did you start awarding the Jisan Scholarship?
A. When I was a child, I was so poor that I had to earn my own tuition. There were many tough days. Whenever I had a hard time, I was able to get out of it with the help of the people around me. I thought there must be students in the same situation I was in. However, they might choose not share their circumstances with others out of shame and then be forced to give up their hopes dreams. I just thought that if I could give them a chance to breathe for a while and an opportunity to give concentrate on their studies, they could find the success they deserve. This thought motivated me to give scholarships to students in need. Now, I provide scholarships to native and foreign students alike, including people from China and Mongolia. So far, nearly 3,000 students have been given scholarships worth 1 billion won. I'm doing my best to continue to give scholarships this year as well.
Q5. When did you feel the most rewarded from giving out a Jisan Scholarship?
A. A few years ago, Shim Dae-pyeong, a governor of Chungcheongnam-do, gave a congratulatory speech at the Jisan Scholarship Awards. He said “Abraham Lincoln made America great, and there is another Abraham Lincoln in Korea.” I was so flattered, I felt rewarded by his words. I find it most rewarding when I receive thank-you letters from students who received scholarships and watch their dreams grow with a little help from my small actions.
|▲ Moon Eun-su not only funded scholarship projects but participated in volunteer works for the needy who fall into medical blind spots. (Photo from Cheonan-si blog)|
Q6. What is the driving force that motivates you to continue your social contribution activities?
A. First of all, as a believer, God gave me the talent. As I said before, I am thinking of returning the help that I received when I was in need during my school days. In addition, from the moment I felt that nothing was ever given for free in the world, I have been doing what I can to change that. I think I am able to continue doing volunteer work because I feel genuine happiness through sharing.
Q7. What would say to educate Dankookians in the spirit of sharing?
A. I want to say that sharing is “for my own good.” because people should not seek a reward for true sharing. If more Dankookians develop a love for sharing, we can make greater love, and if it spreads widely in our society, I think we can all enjoy a happier life together. I want to say that sharing does not always necessarily require a big plan, but it can be a little thing that you can start whenever your neighbor needs your help. I would like to tell you that you can do simple things like donating blood, which is a privilege of the youth and it is the easiest way of sharing.
Q8. What advice do you have for students majoring in Pre-Dentistry at DKU?
I've been studying implants since I was a student in the Dept. of Pre-Dentistry. At that time, it was an unfamiliar field, but I believed that it would become popular someday. When I was an intern, I practiced a lot and gave lectures about implants. Eventually I produced more than 500 students after opening a dental hospital in Cheonan-si. Thanks to these efforts, I’m confident that implants are my specialty. So, I want to say that you should develop your own specialty. And I also recommend you find a great mentor in your life. My mentor is Professor Jo In-ho, Vice President of DKU. His advice earned me the reputation and success I have today at Moon Dental Hospital and it brightened my future. I’d like to tell students that they can make a better future if they specialize in something continue sharing and yielding whatever they learn, and find a mentor to work with. I hope that Dankookians will not only be united and overcome the difficulties from COVID-19, but also concentrate on contributing and doing their best, so that our society can continue to grow and develop at this time.
Practicing noblesse oblige in his everyday life, Moon Eun-su is constantly trying his best to contribute to a healthy society. He always says he was able to grow with the help of other's, and that this taught him the virtue of sharing. The DKH looks forward to Dankookians to be able to realize his same spirit and that wealth, power, and fame should be shared with a greater responsibility for healthy and growing society.
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