In releasing two K-pop songs in January in order to raise money for a South Korean performing arts organization for blind students, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu has previously made headlines for his charitable work. This time, the Korean pitcher has shifted his efforts away from the glamorous life of a K-pop star and instead towards a disaster that recently struck his home country.
According to the Los Angeles Dodgers official Twitter account, Ryu donated money to aid victims of the Sewol ferry disaster that happened just days ago:
Today, @HyunJinRyu99 pledged a $100,000 donation to help those affected by the SEWOL ferry disaster in his native South Korea.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) April 18, 2014
On Wednesday, a ferry containing over 400 passengers sunk off of South Korea’s south coast while en route to the island Jeju, which is considered to be the United States’ equivalent to Hawaii. With handfuls of people confirmed dead along with hundreds who are still missing, the country has been devastated by this tragedy and is calling the incident one of South Korea’s worst peacetime disasters.
With the ferry’s crew being investigated, there remains innumerable questions about the ship’s demise, and no definitive answers have been released regarding what caused the sink to ship. On Friday, USA Today reported the captain and two crew members were arrested. The commercial vessel left from a port in Incheon, which is Ryu’s hometown, and he cannot help but have a heavy heart when confronted with the disaster that has struck his home country.
The Dodger starter spent seven years in the Korean Baseball Organization and is a source of South Korean’s pride and joy. Ryu has unprecedented popularity and support from all South Koreans alike as he led the South Korean national team to an Olympic gold medal in 2008 and to a silver medal the following year in the World Baseball Classic.
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