South Korean Native Describes His American Dream, First Making $1.80 an Hour, Now Running Successful Atlanta Business


NORCROSS, Georgia — Sunny Park immigrated to the United States from South Korea in 1983, and, after his arrival, made $1.80 an hour working in a kitchen.

Despite that meager salary, Park was ambitious and aspired to pay at least $1 million in taxes every year. And for that, people told him that he was crazy.

But Park was simply thrilled that he could live in the United States — as he made more money in one hour than he would have made doing two days’ worth of work in his country of origin.

Park shared his story Tuesday at an Our America CMC 2022 Atlanta event in Northcross. Event organizers said America is the only nation in the world that has a constitution that guarantees individual liberty and freedom.

Park told audience members that he worked his way up from the kitchen and eventually into a position selling life insurance.

“There are so many Americans who live in a house or rent. When you live in an apartment, what do you do when the rain starts falling and the roof leaks? You call the superintendent. The apartment manager then comes over and fixes it,” Park said.

“Now, when you own your house, the rain starts pouring and the roof starts leaking. What do you do? You get up on the roof [and fix it]. This is your house. This is your country. This is my country. We are all together.”

Park said he was so honored to live as an American that he memorized America’s National Anthem and its Pledge of Allegiance. These days, Park said he gives back to the United States by volunteering and assisting high school dropouts. He said 1.2 million high school students in America drop out every year.

“I am trying to stimulate your sense of volunteerism and find out how to stop the leaking with your high school dropout rate,” Park said.

According to online material promoting Tuesday’s event, Park is now the Chief Executive Janitor of the Atlanta-based General Building Maintenance. His staff cleans three million toilets.

And every year Park pays more than $1 million in annual federal income tax.

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]






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