|Gong Quanzhen (File Photo)|
In August 1957, Gan Zuchang, a major general of the People’s Liberation Army, returned to Lianhua county in Jiangxi province to develop his hometown with the fellow villagers. His wife, Gong Quanzhen, returned along with him to this impoverished region and has devoted all her life to providing education and public services to the local people for 56 years
Gan was China’s first general who offered to quit his position to be a farmer. His wife totally understood and supported his decision. She said, “Gan is not an ordinary famer. He said: ’As Chinese people we should make contributions for the country. We could start with simple, small things to make a difference.’”
Moving from northwest China’s Xinjiang to east China’s Jiangxi province, 11 family members only carried three trunks of property but eights cages of selected farm animals with the purpose of improving the farm animal groups in his hometown. At that time Gan only earned 330 yuan per month. He lived a frugal life and devoted two thirds of his wages to the development of water projects, schools and enterprises to help the poor. In total, he constructed three reservoirs, four power plants, three roads, twelve bridges and 25 kilometer-long ditches. Gong fully supported her husband’s work, spending the majority of her money on the social development of Lianhua county. She barely made a new cloth for herself in the first several years.
Gong was not content with staying at home. She walked 25 kilometers to the county bureau for culture and education to find a job. She was assigned to Jiudu Middle School, a very humble school that only had three teachers. Although the condition was very limited she didn’t regretted and began to do her work with immense zeal.
In 1961, Gong was appointed to the post of headmaster of Nanpo Primary School in the same county where she worked for 13 years. Then she went to the near-by Ganjia Primary School to serve as the headmaster. No matter where she worked, she always lived in and ate at the school and put in work with all her dedication.
In May 1986, Gan died of disease; the only heritage he left for his family members were three medals wrapped in a piece of red cloth, which he had kept carefully in an iron box.
After she retired, she spared no effort to fund schools and help the poor. She founded an office named after herself to serve the local people. They all respected and admired her very much.