SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month and every week this month, NewsChannel 9 will be paying tribute to members of the AAPI community making a difference here in Central New York.

This week on “Asian Americans Standing Strong,” NewsChannel 9 is featuring Kevin Kribs, a Korean adoptee dedicating his life to serving others.

Before he became Officer Kevin Kribs, he was first known as Soon Koo Lee.

“I was born in May and I spent 3 months in Korea, born outside of Seoul in a city called Chuncheon.”

KEVIN KRIBS, KOREN ADOPTEE & SYRACUSE POLICE OFFICER

Exactly three months to the day Kevin was born, he flew across the world from Korea to JKF Airport to meet his forever family for the first time.

“I’m very, very fortunate to be here in America,” Kevin explained. “I mean, I could be adopted anywhere in the world and I’m here in America.”

Not just anywhere in America, but life took Kevin to Central New York.

He grew up in Baldwinsville with his two parents and older sister, also adopted from Korea, and had what most would describe as a “normal” childhood.

After graduating high school, Kevin went on to study marketing at SUNY Oswego, but after working as a purchasing manager for 10 years, his lifelong dream of a job in public service became a reality.

I see a lot of police officers out there trying to help the greater good, and that’s something I saw myself doing. That’s why I joined. It’s something I felt I should give back to the community because of myself getting this opportunity to come here, to give back, to essentially pay it forward to the next person.

Kevin Kribs, Korean Adoptee & Syracuse Police Officer

Kevin is one of only three SPD officers of Asian decent, something he takes great pride in as he patrols the North side of Syracuse.

I definitely see it helping, helping the community, helping the department,” Kevin said. “There’s a big Asian population up north. I mean, a lot of times on calls, somebody of Asian decent will come up to me and say, ‘hey, where are you from?’ and I’ll say ‘I’m from Korea,’ and they’ll fist bump me or give me a high five…so it’s kind of a connection there.”