My father with my brother Tom within moments after he arrived on his adoption journey from Korea.
Tom's adoption paperwork
My father with my brother Tom at Mectra Labs. Both engineers, they collaborated in business for many years.
GRATEFUL TO MY FAMILY
In the spring of 2015 after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, my father Richard Clement became determined to help me build an income producing estate -- our vacation glamping tents and cabins --- so that I could get on my feet financially and finish raising my daughters. His help was not only financial, but he offered excellent advice (someday soon I hope to organize and print some of the hundreds of emails written over the last year of his life to me) ---- sage advice about marketing, budgeting and construction details.
I am also grateful to my brother Thomas Clement who financed much of the improvements and new structures. Tom is an amazing person. Tom was born in South Korea during the Korean War to a Korean mother and American G.I. father. Outcast as a biracial child and orphaned, he was later adopted by our family when I was an infant.
In 1988 he founded Mectra Labs, which is a bio-technology company that develops various medical devices from concept to final production, including various laparoscopic surgical instruments and other products used in cancer therapies and cardiovascular, brain, and ENT surgeries. He has personally observed over 2,000 surgeries in the U.S. and has been invited on humanitarian missions to lecture, train, and share expertise with surgeons. Tom holds 42 U.S. patents with additional patents pending.
In his 40s, Tom began speaking with and counseling Korean American adoptees (KAA) and their families. He decided to write about his experiences, which resulted in his 1998 book The Unforgotten War and his 2012 memoir, Dust of the Streets: The Journey of a Biracial Orphan of the Korean War. His extraordinary life was captured in a 2012 video documentary, Where Are You Going, Thomas? The Journey of a Korean War Orphan .
Since 1955, there have been over 200,000 Korean adoptees, and Tom has been a role model and mentor to those in the KAA community. He recently set up special funds to cover the costs of other Korean American Adoptees, Korean war veterans, and Korean families looking to locate birth parents, children, or relatives by submitting DNA tests to Family Tree DNA. His other humanitarian efforts include helping with Korean American community projects in the U.S., supplying medical equipment on missions to Africa and North Korea, and providing food and support for orphanages.
In addition to being an inventor, businessman, and humanitarian, Tom is a trapeze artist, Tae Kwon Do expert, and has played guitar in a rock band. He has two children and currently lives in Bloomfield, Indiana with his artist wife, Wonsook Kim.
Listen to Tom here: https://celinalee.co/episode5/
In September 2015, my brother Tom brought my father to the Adirondacks for one last visit before his demise; I will always treasure the memory of my father walking through the wildflower fields so pleased at how everything looked …. One last time square dancing together …. One final time to have my father sleeping in our home and sharing all his memories of the Adirondacks … My father died in February 2016 peacefully. He was 90 and in excellent health until the last year of his life. I was naturally bereft at losing my father, but I go forward with him in my heart forever. I too will take another step, as my father always advised.
From somewhere, I’m sure my father is so pleased to see how well things have worked out … lovely guests, gorgeous property, rental income, great reviews. It’s all happening!
My father and I as a little girl washing the car in about 1962 in North River.
My father with my daughters
My father and my daughter Emeline dancing during his final visit to North River.