President Obama today awarded the United States’ highest civilian honor to Dr. Tom Little, a Christian worker for the International Assistance Mission (IAM) who was murdered in Afghanistan last August.

“Tom Little could have pursued a lucrative career,” President Obama said during the ceremony for Little and 14 other recipients. “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, an optometrist, was leading an eye care team in the remote northeastern region of Badakhshan when he and nine others were found dead last summer. According to Compass Direct news service, the attack’s motive is still unclear. Though the Taliban, who claimed responsibility, alleged that the group had been proselytizing and carrying Bibles in the Dari language, the IAM insisted that neither was true.

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