Giving Back

When disaster recovery becomes personal


UPS distribution manager strives to help displaced Japanese rebuild their lives.

On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake recorded in Japan triggered a tsunami that led to a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Four years later, the people of northeastern Japan are still working to recover, rebuild and reclaim their lives. They have a friend in Kuohsien Huang (pictured above helping clear overgrown bamboo), a UPS distribution manager based in Tokyo.

The people of northeastern Japan are still working to rebuild their lives, and UPS employee Kuohsien Huang spends weekends helping.

In 2014 alone, Kuo spent 26 of 52 weekends traveling five hours each way in a rental van with other volunteers to lend a hand. These volunteers were strangers who gathered to help those in need. For his contributions, Kuo recently earned UPS's Jim Casey Community Service Award. Each year, one UPS employee is recognized for exceptional commitment to helping others in his or her community. The award is named in honor of one of UPS's founders, who strongly believed in helping those in need. Kuo started working part time for UPS as a college student in 1992 as a preloader in the United States and moved to Japan in 2003. He and his wife have two teenage sons.

"People needed help, and I thought I could contribute," Kuo simply states. "At the Minamisōma City volunteer center we have a motto: 'Those who can, when they can, do what they can.' I'm fortunate that personal circumstances allow me to contribute.

"No matter how tough or capable we are individually, there will be times when we have to rely on others," says Kuo, who, in addition to his disaster recovery efforts, also tutors disadvantaged children in computer literacy and is involved in tree planting and raising Japanese culture awareness in Tokyo.

"I think that we add value to our own lives when we use whatever ability we have to add to the happiness of others," he says. "We can do it at home and at work – doing it in the community is a natural extension."

Watch a video profiling Kuo and the support he and others provide.

Learn about last year's Casey winner: Tony Heath.


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