Tom Little (optometrist)

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Tom Little Tom Little optometrist.jpg
Tom Little

Thomas E. Little (March 20, 1949 – August 5, 2010) [1] was an American optometrist from Kinderhook, New York, [2] most widely known as the leader of an International Assistance Mission team that was killed in the 2010 Badakhshan massacre. [3] [4]

Biography

In 1978, Little traveled to Afghanistan. Although only intending to stay there for several months, Little ultimately spent the next 30 years building up the country's eye care services during successive regime changes. [5] Little spoke Dari fluently. [6]

In August 2010, Little's medical team was attacked by masked gunmen in the Kuran wa Munjan District of Badakhshan Province while returning from Nuristan to Kabul. The team had spent two weeks traveling between remote villages on foot and providing medical care. Ten members of the team, including six Americans, were murdered. The Taliban took responsibility for the attack. Little's body was found on August 7, 2010. [7]

Little was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on February 15, 2011. [8] [9] He was also posthumously recognized as the 2010 International Optometrist of the Year by the World Council of Optometrists. [2] [10]

The son of an ophthalmologist, Little attended Ichabod Crane High School in Valatie, New York, where he dated his future wife, Libby. The couple's three daughters were educated at Woodstock School in India. While most well known for his work in Afghanistan, Little was also an avid outdoorsman, equestrian, and environmentalist. [5]

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References

  1. "United States Social Security Death Index" database, 20 May 2014), Thomas E Little, 05 Aug 2010; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File).
  2. 1 2 2010 International Optometrist of the Year Archived 2016-11-24 at the Wayback Machine from worldoptometry.org
  3. Gannon, Kathy (8 August 2010). "British aid worker killed in massacre in Afghanistan". The Herald . Retrieved 8 August 2010.
  4. Nordland, Rod (7 August 2010). "10 Medical Aid Workers Are Found Slain in Afghanistan". The New York Times . Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  5. 1 2 Caruso, David B. (August 7, 2010). "Doctor from region slain in Afghanistan attack". Glens Falls Post-Star. Associated Press. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  6. "Slain NY doctor was in Afghanistan for 3 decades". Greenwich Time . 7 August 2010. Retrieved 7 August 2010.[ permanent dead link ]
  7. "Violent end to life of caring". Times Union. August 8, 2010.
  8. "President George H.W. Bush, 14 Others Receive Medal Of Freedom". NPR.org.
  9. "Announcing Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients". whitehouse.gov. November 17, 2010.
  10. Kenaston, Jim (December 25, 2017). Just a Thin Slice: A Family's Journey Through the American Landscape - 1623 to the Present. Lulu.com. ISBN   9781387252008 via Google Books.