Calvin Pottberg was the recipient of one of the Junction City Area Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious awards during the chamber’s annual dinner.
The chamber’s annual dinner was held Thursday night at the Geary County Convention Center. Staff presented awards to community members in various categories, and Pottberg — of Pottberg, Gassman & Hoffman, a financial consulting firm in Junction City — was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year Award winner. John and Sue Kolhoff — of Junction City’s Kolhoff Pharmacy — were the recipients of the Eldon L. Hoyle Economic Development Award. Lady Trooper President Paula Dinkel was the recipient of the Seitz Family Military Community Award. Chamber President Mickey Fornaro-Dean also recognized Rich Jankovich for his service as the past chairman of the chamber’s board by presenting him with a clock.
Judge Tommy B. Webb served as the event’s keynote speaker. Webb was born during the Korean War, and he spoke about the hardships he experienced in Korea, and the events that led him to be adopted by an American family. Webb is not sure exactly when he was born, but he remembers that his mother was a drunken prostitute, who would sometimes lock him out of the shack they lived in because she had customers.
“We would sleep in garbage next to rats,” Webb said.
One day, when he was around 7 years old, he decided to start walking toward Seoul.
“I woke up and said there’s got to be more to life than this,” Webb said. “I started walking south. I had to find some shelter, and saw the lights of Seoul, Korea.”
A Seoul train station became his home for a brief period. A police officer eventually caught him stealing food, and the officer introduced him to a woman who took him to an orphanage, where he brushed his teeth for the first time.
Webb later flew to Portland, Ore., and was eventually adopted by the Webb family, and brought to live in Kansas.
“I’m so thankful for Ray and Ruth Webb, who already had two children,” Webb said.
Webb served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1970 to 1974, and has enjoyed a successful career as a Kansas district magistrate judge. He challenged visitors at the dinner to make a difference in someone’s life by helping them the way the Webbs helped him.