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John Linton wins Korean citizenship for medical contribution

John Linton (right), director of Severance Hospital International Health Care Center, poses for a photo with the Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin, holding his Korean citizenship, in the ministry building in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. (Yonhap News)
John Linton (right), director of Severance Hospital International Health Care Center, poses for a photo with the Justice Minister Kwon Jae-jin, holding his Korean citizenship, in the ministry building in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi Province, Wednesday. (Yonhap News)
John Linton, director of Severance Hospital International Health Care Center, received Korean citizenship from the Justice Ministry Wednesday.

Ministry officials said that citizenship was granted in recognition of his medical contributions here and about a hundred years of outstanding achievements by his ancestors in the country.

Linton, 53, now holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Korea under the revised law, which allows foreigners to have dual nationalities even if they obtain Korean citizenship, according to the ministry.

Linton is the first foreigner given citizenship for his contribution to Korea.

He helped establish the emergency medical system by developing special ambulances customized for Koreans in 1993. He has also continued sending medical supplies to North Korea since 1997 as part of his volunteer work.

The Linton family’s ties with Korea date back to 1895, when William Linton, John’s grandfather, first arrived in the country with his father-in-law Eugene Bell, a Southern Presbyterian missionary.

William Linton established schools and participated in the anti-Japanese occupation movement during the colonial era of 1910-45, which the Korean government acknowledged later, honoring him with a national award in 2010.

Hugh Linton, John’s father, also made great contributions, building a tuberculosis clinic in 1960 and participated in the 1950-1953 Korean War. He was also honored in 2005.

By Lee Woo-young  (wylee@heraldcorp.com)
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