By: Santiago Reyes Cruz, Jr.
Fresh out of the hospital from a life-threatening illness, Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan was presented with one of the most prestigious awards in the Merrimack Valley last month, the Greater Lawrence Psychological Center’s Overcoming Obstacles Award
Most people may know that Tom is a homeless advocate; he feeds them, brings them needed items like blankets, food, and hand warmers – but, what you may not know is that Tom has twice been homeless himself.
He is also the son of a murdered Lawrence police officer and has spent most of his adult life quietly helping families of other slain officers.
Having waited 11 years to go to college because he couldn’t afford it, Tom Duggan now uses the success of the Valley Patriot to raise tens of thousands of dollars each year to give scholarships to local students.
Being the son of a Vietnam-era veteran and grandson of a WWII vet, Tom works with Clear Path for Veterans New England and other veteran organizations to get homeless veterans off the streets and provide them with needed services.
As the publisher of this newspaper, he has survived boycotts, had his character assassinated by powerful politicians, and even targeted for physical violence because of his reporting on crime issues.
If there was anyone who deserves an “Overcoming Obstacles” award this year, it is my boss – and friend – Tom Duggan who always uses the obstacles he faces to learn life lessons and then help others who have their own obstacles to overcome.
Congratulations Tom and thank you to Carina Pappalardo for recognizing Tom’s success and his struggles! ◊