From Doug LaViolette…
“I knew it was coming, but the phone call I’ve been dreading came late yesterday afternoon. Thomas Hudner passed away surrounded by his loving family.
I distinctly remember the first time I met Tom Hudner; it was September 30, 2004 in Columbia, South Carolina. The last time was April 1, 2017. Both dates have an indelible mark on my life.
In Columbia, SC, I proudly represented the City of Green Bay with a proposal to host the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Annual Convention that was ultimately held in 2007. The last time I saw Tom was in Bath, Maine as I witnessed the Navy ship being Christened in his name, the USS THOMAS HUDNER DDG 116.
For the past 13 years, our family had the privilege to get to know Tom and to call him a friend.
Tom had visited our area over the years and he also presented the Thomas Hudner Scholarship of Honor twice. This annual scholarship has been awarded through Brian’s Foundation since 2005 and will forever keep his memory alive in the hearts and minds of the scholarship recipients.
They will learn, as we have, of Tom Hudner’s commitment to his fellow man and his lifelong quest to help others. Tom Hudner truly was not only an American War Hero but a gentlemen who cared deeply about making the world a better place.
Thank you Tom. For everything."
Margaret Viola received the Tom Hudner Scholarship of Honor in 2011. She knew aerospace was for her when she was teaching in Somalia in East Africa. She found herself volunteering at the area's airport and returned to the U.S. with a dream of receiving her private pilots license. She has achieved that and more with a career at Virgin Galactic and now Airbus. She shares what Tom's scholarship means to her in the video below...
"This award means many things to me but above them all, it means honor. This award also means legacy to me. It is not just my legacy that it holds, it is the legacy of the people that fought and died for our country even when they knew what lied ahead. I would just like to thank you again for choosing me for this award an scholarship, it truly means the world to me."
Michael D Chanda, Thomas Hudner Scholarship of Honor 2016