Seeing colleagues injured by landmines and knowing how many more people fell victim to the devices opened Joseph Kim Ki-hoto to a life of service.
"Before, I lived only for myself and my family," said the former military warrant officer. “Now I work for others.”
His Catholic faith has sustained the 54-year-old director of the Korea Mine Clearing Research Institute in his commitment. He converted to the faith just after he married a Catholic woman more than 30 years ago.
“Without the Catholic faith teaching us to cherish life and love others, I would not be able to engage in this work," he said in a recent interview.
Kim’s life changed after he witnessed a mine accident that injured two military officers in 2000. All three were working to remove landmines in order to rebuild a railway through the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), which has divided the Korean peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
Upset by the accident, he devised a mine-clearing vehicle that year. Christened the "Millennium Dove," it clears landmines without danger to human life and the environment.