Tom Grams was motivated to help the people of Afghanistan.
Soon after the 9/11 terror attacks, the Durango, Colo. dentist heard a speech about the way the Taliban treated people. The speech was given by a man who had his teeth knocked out after a beating by the Taliban. After offering to work on the man’s teeth, Grams knew he had to find a way to do more of this.
He started by volunteering in Nepal and India, and making more than 5 visits to Afghanistan. He gave up his dental practice in Colorado to do this work.
Grams, 51, was one of 10 members of a medical team whose bodies were found Friday. They were murdered on their way back to Kabul, the Afghan capital.
The medical team consisted of 6 Americans, 2 Afghans, one German, and one Briton. Along with Grams, also identified were Tom Little, 61, of Delmar, N.Y., an optometrist; Glenn Lapp, 40, of Lancaster, Pa., a nurse; Cheryl Beckett, 32, of Knoxville, Tenn; Brian Caldarelli, a 25-year-old videographer from Virginia; Dan Terry, a resident of Afghanistan since 1980; and Karen Woo, 36, a British citizen who planned on getting married soon. The other slain workers have not been identified yet.
The Taliban claimed the workers were killed because they were spies proselytizing Christianity. The trip was organized by a Christian charity, but the International Assistance Mission says there was no religious motivation to their work.
Grams was apprehensive about this most recent trip because the location was in the vicinity of an area controlled by the Taliban. A mission had been cancelled earlier because it was thought to be too dangerous.