In US, Aid Worker Among 2010 Medal of Freedom Awardees

    In awarding a Medal of Freedom to an optometrist killed in Afghanistan, U.S. President Barack Obama, on Feb. 15, honored the work aid professionals do around the world.

    Tom Little, one of the 10 health workers murdered by the Taliban in August in Afghanistan, was awarded a posthumous medal.

    “An optometrist from New York, Tom Little could have pursued a lucrative career. Instead, he guided - 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,” Obama said during the awarding ceremony.

    Little and five other Americans, one British, one German, and two Afghans were found dead Aug. 7 in Afghanistan’s northeastern region. Their team was reportedly returning from an eye care medical mission from the neighboring province of Nuristan when they were stopped and gunned down by insurgents.

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    Philanthropist Warren Buffett was also awarded a medal.

    “A philanthropist is a lover of humanity, and there’s no word that fits Warren better,” Obama said. “[F]or all the money he’s earned, you don’t see Warren Buffett wearing fancy suits or driving fancy cars. Instead, you see him devoting the vast majority of his wealth to those around the world who are suffering, or sick, or in need of help. And he uses his stature as a leader to press others of great means to do the same.”

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    About the author

    • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

      As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.