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Hyundai brings quot;Good Breadquot; to Alabama

This has been quite an exciting week here in South Central Alabama. The realization that Hyundai has actually chosen Hope Hull as the site of its new manufacturing plant finally has hit some residents and public officials.

I had the opportunity to attend the groundbreaking this past Tuesday, and man was it impressive. The State of Alabama and Hyundai Motor Company went all out for the event and it was definitely something to remember.

The groundbreaking started with a ceremony at 11 a.m., in which several representatives of Hyundai and several public officials addressed a full house of attendees. Of course, the media was everywhere, and I was fortunate enough to be front and center snapping photos and listening to the elation of every speaker.

I always am proud to be an Alabamian, but Tuesday, I was especially proud. I was proud that Alabama has residents who are known for their hard work and dedication to a quality product. I was proud of our elected officials from Greenville to Selma, from Montgomery to Alexander City, and beyond, who have worked so hard to bring these jobs to Alabama. I was proud to greet visitors from so far away to a state where they are truly welcomed.

But, the major thing I noticed during the whole event was that our new Korean family is very much like ourselves. Several times during the day, they mentioned how great southern hospitality is, but what I noticed was that they are going to fit right in because every one of our new residents was just as friendly as we are known to be. One representative of Hyundai told me how excited they are to be here in Alabama, and how nice they have found the people to be.

The one thing that I can say is that although Alabama and Korea may be thousands of miles away from one another, we aren't so completely different. One thing that I learned while working as a student at the University of South Alabama International Admissions office is that Koreans are very big on family. Just as we are here in Alabama, in Korea, you don't have to be a blood relative to be considered part of the family. They, too, have very strong ties, and when the company itself says part of the Hyundai family, that is what they mean.

Another thing that we have in common, I must say, is good cooking. I was so amazed at the amount of food at Tuesday's event! It ranged from Korea's dish of Kim Chi to good ole' southern fried chicken. And they also had a bread called "Good Bread" that was filled with sweet butter that melted in your mouth. I hope they bring some of that back with them because I swear I could survive on Good Bread and Good Bread alone.

In addition, plaques with the date of the groundbreaking also were provided as souvenirs for us to remember the day.

All in all, it was an amazing event, and it definitely is something that I will remember for all time.

Thank you Hyundai and the State of Alabama for making this all possible.

(P.S. When you come back, don't forget the Good Bread.)