By Mr. Kenneth Fidler (IMCOM)May 30, 2008
YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea - Katie Bell's dedication to children's reading programs and family readiness programs will be remembered by everyone who visits the Yongsan Library.
U.S. Forces Korea and Installation Management Command-Korea officials unveiled the Katie Bell Bookshelf today to honor Mrs. Bell's commitment to military families and their children.
"Katie Bell has been passionately dedicated to children's education and specifically children's reading programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph F. Fil Jr., USFK Chief of Staff and 8th U.S. Army Commanding General, told the crowd gathered at the dedication ceremony. "She has had a personal and direct impact on many young minds and lives. I know there are a great many children on this post and other posts around the world who remember the sound of Ms. Katie's voice reading a story and awakening their love of reading and knowledge."
It was a fitting surprise parting gift as she prepares to leave Korea Tuesday with her husband, Gen. B.B. Bell, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and U.S. Forces Korea. Bell is retiring after 37 years in the U.S. Army.
"I am so overwhelmed," she told the crowd of about 50 USFK and IMCOM-K staff members, spouses, friends and school children. "This just blows me away. The best gift you can give your children ... walking through the door of the library, it opens the world to children."
She grew up an avid reader, cherishing the days she could visit the library.
"My mother took us to the library every Tuesday," she said. "We could take five books home .... I couldn't wait to go the next Tuesday. Reading is a passion for me."
The bookshelf establishes a central location for Family Readiness Group reference materials and new children's books.
IMCOM-Korea has received more than 1,960 books for FRGs throughout Korea under the auspices of the Army Family Covenant, a program dedicated to providing families with the programs and resources necessary to ensure a high quality of life across the force.
This event also served to establish a donation program whereby patrons of the Library can donate quality children's books to the collection or appropriate FRG and Family focused reference materials, on the Bell's behalf.
Part of the ceremony included the first children's book donated to the collection, a book General Bell read during the 2007 Children's Summer Reading Program. The book was written Diane Lindsey, whose husband, Walter Cade, is the general manager of Yongsan's Main Post Club. Mrs. Lindsey and the Bells signed the book before placing it on the shelf.
"You all just touched my heart so much," Mrs. Bell said.