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Ruthe and I met Tom Little in 2002, when we visited Kabul. We toured the eye hospital he was rebuilding. We pray for his family, and thank God for the privilege of meeting him.

This is from his hometown newspaper…

Tom Little hailed from upstate New York, but made his home in Afghanistan.

The 62-year-old optometrist was the guiding force behind the National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR), bringing eye care to the remote rural regions of the war-torn nation.

Little was among 10 members of a medical team gunned down by Afghan militants earlier this week during a three-week mission of mercy to northern Afghanistan.

Little, who typically traveled with his wife Libby, moved to Afghanistan in 1978 to provide eye care for indigent locals.

The couple raised three daughters in Afghanistan while maintaining a home in Delmar, near Albany. His wife was at home coming to grips with the brutal slaying, said Lawrence Roff, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Schenectady.

The church offered support for the Littles’ mission for more than three decades, Roff said.

Little operated a half-dozen clinics and hospitals in Afghanistan, including one in Kabul and three in smaller towns.

He was thrown out of the country in August 2001 by the Taliban government following the arrests of eight Christian aid workers accused of trying to convert Afghans to Christianity.

An undeterred Little returned to Afghanistan just three months later when the Taliban government was overthrown by U.S.-backed forces

Read more

For a photo essay on the life and work of Dr. Little, see here.



  1. Sam, Thanks for sharing more about Tom Little. Just hearing about the aid workers and their mission was troubling, but to learn about Tom and his own dedication to the people of Afghanistan in the face of danger is inspiring. God still reigns.

    Praying for the families of those who lost their lives, as well as for the lost they went to serve.

  2. Why we only pray and tear for people who died by militants in Afghanistan
    Why not cry for over a million women and children died under US bombing in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Are we blind, are we deaf – or are we comparing between christians and others
    I hope not because then we are worse that these militants .

    • Hisham,
      I think it is inappropriate for you to inject this sort of comment on a page dedicated to Mr. Shaw’s personal testimonial on Dr. Little. Would you go to Tom Little’s funeral and ask these questions of the people grieving there?

    • We cry for all but are most outraged when the killings of innocents are intentional and not accidental.

      Ed Crowell

  3. Hisham christ, why would you assume to price-tag anyone’s loss? As a Christ-follower, I pray for ANY and EVERYone who has suffered loss across the board. I also pray that the blood of these martyed Christians (whose faith was more than a catch-phrase but manifested in their love and aide for the Afghan people, ) would spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout Afghanistan and bring true healing and freedom to these people.

  4. I grew up with Tom and the entire Little family in Kinderhook, NY. Some of my happiest days were spent on their estate, riding horses, shooting pool, and dabbling in “pyrotecnic chemistry” with his brother, Henry. His lovely wife, Libby, was a classmate of mine, and they were a beautiful couple together. When things were heating up in Afghanistan – as they so often were – I worried about their safety. When I asked Tom, one time, why don’t you come home and be a missionary here? He simply said, “Afghanistan is my home now.”

    Tom was one of a kind. Courageous, determined, caring, and simply a great example to pattern one’s life after. I will surely miss him. Please pray for his family and for an end to the hostilities in the middle east.

  5. a hero in my eyes

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Pressvision's Blog on 22 Jan 2011 at 9:06 pm

    […] Ex-President George H.W. Bush (“The Elder”); the brilliant cellist Yo-Yo Ma; basketball legend Bill Russell; baseball icon Stan “The Man” Musial; oet and activist Maya Angelou; billionaire and philanthropist Warren Buffett.  Other names on the list don’t get the publicity that these individuals have received in their lifetimes, such as holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein.  But the name on the list that touched me most was the one individual who is receiving the award posthumously:  Dr. Tom Little.   Murdered in Afghanistan during one of his many charity missions there giving eyecare services through the National Organization of Ophthalmic Rehabilitation Clinic that he helped establish, Tom was a real optometric hero.  You can read more about him here and there is a wonderful, inspirational blog tribute to his legacy online […]

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