Augusta Chronicle, Wednesday, January 23, 2008
By Donnie Fetter| Columbia County Bureau Chief

More than half a century has passed since John Hoover and Phil Lee met during the Korean War.
Phil Lee grasps the hand of John Hoover as they recount how Mr. Hoover rescued Mr. Lee at a train station in Korea.

As a teenage schoolboy in 1950, Mr. Lee lost his family during a chaotic flight from Seoul when the North Korean army captured the city. He eventually took a respite next to some railroad tracks at a train station in Taegu, Korea, about 500 miles outside his home city.

It was there Mr. Lee found a personal savior in U.S. Army Lt. John Hoover, who he was reunited with Tuesday at Brandon Wilde retirement community in Evans.

"He saved my life. I would not be here if not for him," Mr. Lee said as he patted Mr. Hoover on the knee outside a private dining room at Brandon Wilde.
Mr. Hoover brought Mr. Lee along with his unit, keeping him safe during the conflict.

Mr. Lee, 73, immigrated to America in 1971 and now owns a successful real estate company in Daytona Beach, Fla.

"I had no idea he was here," said Mr. Hoover, a retired major general who is a resident of Brandon Wilde. "I was so happy to find out he was here."
It was on the most recent Veteran's Day that Mr. Lee decided to find the man he said made his life in America possible. He contacted a historian for the Army's 24th Infantry, Mr. Hoover's unit, who passed along a phone number to Mr. Hoover just before Christmas.

"I couldn't believe it," Mr. Hoover said. "I immediately called him."
Now 83, Mr. Hoover said he vividly remembers the day he found a skinny 16-year-old boy next to some train tracks.

"I remember both sides of the road were crowded with people running south, running from the North Koreans, carrying everything they owned, carrying furniture," he said. "I found Lee and I had to take care of him. Somebody had to take care of him."

It was Mr. Hoover who convinced the young boy to pursue an education and make a success of him, Mr. Lee said.

"You see them," Mr. Lee said pointing to a portrait of his children and grandchildren that he held in his lap. "They would not be here if it weren't for him."