THE US bestowed the country’s highest civilian honor to Dr. Tom Little, a Christian workers who was murdered allegedly by the Taliban in Afghanistan last year.
Little, an optometrist, was heading an eye care team in Badakhshan when he and nine others were found dead last August. The Taliban, who claimed responsibility, alleged that the group had been proselytizing and carrying Bibles in the Dari language. However, the organization he worked for the International Assistance Mission (IAM) denied the charge.
Speaking at the award ceremony, US President Barack Obama said: “Tom Little could have pursued a lucrative career. Instead, he was guided by his faith, and he set out to heal the poorest of the poor in Afghanistan. For 30 years, amid invasion and civil war, the terror of the Taliban, the spread of insurgency, he and his wife Libby helped bring Afghans—literally—the miracle of sight.”
Little’s widow Libby Little accepted the award on her husband’s behalf.
Obama characterized Little as “a humanitarian in the truest sense of the word: a man who not only dedicated his life to others, but who lived that lesson of Scripture: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’.”
After the ceremony, on the White House lawn Fox23 News asked Libby what Obama had whispered to her. She replied, “I said, ‘thank you’ and I think he said back to me it was his honor.”
Libby told Fox23 News, “We love our country and we never imagined that working in obscurity in Afghanistan would receive this level of recognition. I’m proud of my husband. I think to God be the glory that you can just do your work in an ordinary way, it’s the glory of God, and the president recognizes it. It was quite an emotional moment.”
Libby said she didn’t know who nominated her husband Tom Little. “We certainly didn’t set out for awards or this kind of thing and still aren’t so it’s taken us by surprise. And I know Tom would feel great honor, receiving this award from the President of the United States,” she added.