The Associated Press is reporting that Kim Vien Hoang, a 19-year-old Vietnamese girl, and her 19-old Korean friend, Kim Jong Nam, have become the first U.S. and Vietnamese girls to win a coveted $10,000 prize for helping rescue a drowning Vietnamese girl in the North Korean border town of Sinuiju.
The AP reported that Kim’s mother, Kim Chol Hoang was quoted by the South Korean government as saying that the couple “believe that they did the right thing and that the Vietnamese government is very grateful to them for their help.”
Kim and Kim Jong Min have been working as volunteers for the Vietnamese army for a year.
Kim’s father, Kim Yoon Kyong, also won a $5,000 donation to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March.
The Associated News wrote that Kim was working in Sinujin as a translator for the North Korea mission to the United Nations.
She was the only Vietnamese in a group of two young Americans and two Chinese women who went out in the ocean to rescue a Vietnamese girl who had drowned in the South China Sea in July.
Kim said she is in her 20s and works in a bakery in the border town.
She said she hopes her actions help save Vietnamese lives.
She told AP the Vietnamese soldiers were “really happy” and that she is now grateful for the help.
“It is a very big honor to have my mom here,” she said.
“I want to give her my gratitude for what she has done.”
Kim said that the mission has received a lot of support from the Vietnamese people.
“They have shown great support,” she told AP.
“We want to show our gratitude to them.”
The AP noted that the Vietnam government has also been sending Kim a “small amount of money” to help her cover her family’s expenses, but that the government has yet to receive the full amount.