Eugene Cho

dong yun yoon: the man who lost his family in the san diego jet crash

Dong Yun Yoon cries while talking about losing his wife, two daughters, and mother-in law after an F/A-18D fighter jet crashed into his house in the University City neighborhood of San Diego, California December 9, 2008. The victims were identified as Dong Yun Yoon's wife Young M. Yoon, and their daughters 15-month-old Grace and 12-month-old Rachel. Young Yoon's mother, Suk Kim, who was visiting from South Korea also perished in the crash. The family had moved to the neighborhood a month ago. Dong Yun Yoon was at work at the time of the accident.

Part II:  Why aren’ t we drawn to Don Yun Yoon?

The story is brutally painful.  As a husband and father, I can not imagine a more painful thing.  Dong Yun Yoon [English name is Don Yoon], 37, was at work at his cafe when he discovered the horrible news of a F/A-18 jet crashing into a residential home – his home.  His wife, two young babies, and his mother-in-law who had recently arrived from Korea to help take care of the babies [a Korean custom] all were killed in this tragedy.  But in the midst of such deep anguish and pain, Dong Yun Yoon asked people to pray for the surviving pilot of the crashed jet and shared:

“I know he’s one of our treasures, for the country, and I … don’t blame him. I don’t have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could.”

I listen to the Dong Yun Yoon’s video interview on CNNand couldn’t stop crying.  Regardless who’s involved, it’s an utterly painful tragedy but looking at him is like looking at a familiar face.  As a Korean immigrant myself, his story his familiar.  His voice and broken English is familiar.  His comments and words are familiar.  The people standing around him all are familiar.  In many ways, I feel like he’s my younger brother or cousin.  He was doing what many Korean immigrants do – work their tails off to provide for their family.  He was working at his coffee shop nearby.  Yoon immigrated to the United States in 1989 with his brother and sister while his parents remained in Korea [something all too familiar with many Korean immigrants] all in hopes and pursuit of the great American dream.  Dong Yun later became a U.S. citizen.

He married his wife, Young Mi Yoon [a nurse], four years ago and had two children: Grace [15 months] and Rachel [2 months].   They had just moved into this house one month ago.

“My wife — it was God’s blessing that I met her about four years ago, and we got married,” he said quietly. “She’s just such a lovely wife and mother, who always loves me, and (the) babies. I just miss her so much.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Final sunset.

Aloha. Mahalo. Hana hou. Ohana.

Thank you, Kona, the Whitlocks, YWAM, sea turtles, Nemo, Restorers DTS, and Scandinavian Shaved Ice. Our three children.

One will be heading off to college in one year. The 2nd in three years. In six years, Minhee and I will be empty nesters. As a young parent, my prayers for them often surrounded their purpose in life. While I still ponder those things, there are three things that I most pray for:

1. That they may love Christ and obey Christ. Not just the idea but to actually follow Christ and thus, to love people.

2. To hold God's Word - the Holy Scriptures - dear and near to their hearts.

3. To love one another and be there for one another for life. To be loyal to one another. To protect one another. To never allow pettiness, conflicts, jealousy,  money, or whatever to get between them in the future. Ever. 
May it be so. Amen. Kona sunset. #nofilter

Perhaps from the outside...things look great but this has been one of the most challenging years of our life. The most painful has involved one of our kids who've had to endure through a lifelong chronic illness. This year, we've gone to the hospital 3-4 times/week trying to get her better. Ups and downs. Emotional roller coaster. Parents will understand this but nothing hurts more than a sick child...especially when you can't "fix" the situation. We were praying that our trip to Hawaii would be a balm for her soul...but it has been hard. Really hard. Lots of tears hard. But soaking in this sunset with our kids is something we don't want to take for granted.

We continue to pray and hope. Hope is not that God promises us perfection or everything we want but that in all situations...God is with us. Believing - while faltering - in this truth for our child. My Hawaiian Seattle Korean queen. #kona @minheejcho A family that hikes together stays together. #kona #pololuvalley Searching for Nemo. #kona #snorkeling #speechless

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