|MOH Thomas G. Kelley|
Vietnam War hero and Medal of Honor recipient Thomas G. Kelley will be honored for his 41 years of combined service as a distinguished Naval Officer and Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services at a special event at the Hynes Convention Center on his birthday, Friday, May 13.
The salute to Kelley, which includes participation from current and former senators, governors, and other special guests, will benefit the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund, which honors the sacrifices of Massachusetts’ fallen heroes through educational support for their children.
MSNBC-TV Military Analyst and Medal of Honor recipient Jack Jacobs will interview Kelley during the event. The reception begins at 6 p.m. with the formal program commencing at 6:30 p.m.
The evening’s honorary chairs include United States Senators John F. Kerry and Scott P. Brown; Governors Deval Patrick, Mitt Romney, Jane Swift, and Paul Cellucci; Lieutenant Governors Tim Murray and Kerry Healey; US Congressmen Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch; Mayor Thomas M. Menino; Massachusetts State Senators Ken Donnelly, Jack Hart, Patricia Jehlen, Michael Knapik, and Bruce Tarr; Massachusetts State Representatives Brad Hill, Denise Provost, and James Vallee; and Sheriffs
Andrea Cabral and Frank Cousins.
“It is an honor for the MSLF to be the beneficiary of an event that recognizes such an extraordinary individual,” said MSLF Founder Peter Trovato. “Tom Kelley’s valor in the field and unrelenting public service following his tours of duty are inspiring, and we hope to replicate his commitment to supporting those who need it most through our efforts at MSLF. We’re so thankful to Tom and the host
committee for their efforts to help our organization provide a brighter future
for young people who have sacrificed so much.”
|Kelley recieves MOH from Nixon|
Kelley received the Medal of Honor for his actions as a United States Navy officer during the Vietnam War. During a mission to extract a US Army infantry company from a canal bank in South Vietnam, his convoy came under attack, and Kelley suffered a severe head wound. Unable to stand or speak clearly, he continued to relay directions to the convoy until his crippled boat was repaired and the group was able to move out. Despite the loss of an eye during the attack, Kelley requested to remain on active duty and eventually retired with the rank of captain in 1990.
Following his retirement, Kelley worked as a civilian in the Department of Defense before returning to Boston to become Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services in 1999. From 2003 until his retirement in December 2010, Kelley served as Secretary of that department.
“Tom is the real deal: a genuine American hero with a heart of gold, and it is only fitting that an event to salute his distinguished career benefits such a worthy cause as the MSLF,” said Host Committee member and former GOP gubernatorial
candidate Charlie Baker “Though the event also celebrates Tom’s birthday, he is the one who has provided the lasting gift by using this celebration as an opportunity to help educate children who have lost loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.”