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Courage, Character and Commitment: Interview with Medal of Honor Recipient Tom Kelley
Friday October 16, 2015 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Hosted by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
Medal of Honor Recipient Tom Kelley told his personal story during this special webinar presented by the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation. This live interview was an exciting learning opportunity for students. We encourage teachers and their classes, 5th grade and up, to watch and ask questions as Mr. Kelley recounts his experiences and shares his thoughts on courage and commitment.
On May 14, 1970, President Nixon awarded Kelley the Medal of Honor for his actions on June 15, 1969, in the Republic of Vietnam. Kelley distinguished himself through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in the afternoon while serving as commander of River Assault Division 152 during combat operations against enemy aggressor forces.” Read Mr. Kelley’s full citation here.
During this webinar, Mr. Kelley discussed what the Medal of Honor means to him and how it has affected his life, adding his unique perspective on the values celebrated by the CMOHF Character Development Program. Mr. Ronald Rand, CEO and President of the Medal of Honor Foundation, moderated the program.
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Thomas Gunning Kelley, Captain, U.S. Navy, River Assault Division 152, Mobile Riverine Force
A Boston native, Captain Thomas Gunning Kelley enlisted in the Navy just before graduating from the College of the Holy Cross in 1960 at age 21. Kelley deployed to Vietnam as a lieutenant in charge of River Assault Division 152. In 1969, during the actions for which he received his Medal of Honor, Kelley suffered severe head wounds, including the loss of one eye. Upon receiving his Medal the next year, he was promoted to lieutenant commander but also told that because of his injuries, he was no longer fit for service. Kelley appealed this decision and fought to remain on active duty, serving for thirty years until his retirement in1990 as a captain.
After his tenure with the U.S. Navy, Kelley worked in a civilian capacity at the Department of Defense for several years. He then returned to Boston to serve as Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services in April 1999 and then later as Secretary of that department in August 2003. After over ten years advocating on behalf of veterans, he finally retired from public service in December 2010.
In September 2015, Kelley was elected president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. He is also active in his church and remains a strong supporter of several veterans groups around the state. Kelley currently resides in Boston with his wife, Joan, and between them they have four grown children and two grandchildren.
Ron Rand, President and CEO, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
A retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, Ron Rand has more than 40 years of leadership and corporate communications experience in positions of increasing responsibility, including most recently as a senior vice president at Lockheed Martin Corporation. Rand also brings a strong track record of developing leadership potential in others and executing complex outreach programs and events.
A CE certificate will be emailed to live attendees within 24 hours of the live event.
If you miss the live session, a link to view the recording will be sent within 24 hours of the live event.
The Medal of Honor Character Development Program is a free resource that teaches character through stories of the Medal of Honor recipients. The CDP is a cross-curriculum supplement and complies with National/State Common Core standards. The Medal of Honor Character Development Program incorporates the ideals of courage and selfless service into the middle and high school curriculum to build character and promote responsible citizenship. The program is FREE and includes 50+ lesson plans supported by over 100 video vignettes of the Medal of Honor Recipients themselves, as well as videos of hometown heroes selected by the Medal of Honor Recipients as “Citizen Heroes.”