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Relief worker with Sequim connection murdered

Dan Terry, 64, a man with strong connections with members of a Sequim church, was killed on Aug. 5, along with nine other relief workers.

The group was serving with a Nuristan Eye Camp team in Badakhshan, the most northeastern province of Afghanistan.

The Taliban and another insurgent group claim responsibility for the attack and accused the aid workers of spying and trying to spread Christianity.

Terry and 11 other volunteers for International Assistance Missions were traveling by foot, distributing eyeglasses, toothbrushes, pain relief and prenatal care remotely.

He visited Sequim frequently to see his parents George and Pat Terry, who retired here.

Terry and his wife Seija were last in Sequim August-December 2009, and attended Trinity United Methodist when on leave.

The church donated to his efforts.

Diane Davis, a church member, said Terry was very dedicated to his service in Afghanistan.

"He very much believed in what they were doing there," Davis said.

She spoke to Terry's sister, Ruth, who said he was known throughout Afghanistan for his work.

Shirley Anderson, another church member, had Terry stay in her parents' home while he was here attending his mother's funeral last summer.

She found Terry hesitant to talk about his work, but that he did say he had encounters with the Taliban before.

"He said he was always able to talk his way out of things with them," Anderson said.

"He told them that he was worth more to them alive than dead."

In the few months, he stayed in Sequim, Anderson found Terry to be a good, generous person and very devoted to that part of the world.



Terry's background

Terry began work in Afghanistan in 1971. He specialized in relating to local communities and connecting with aid organizations to the government for improving services and was supported by Global Ministries.

Terry married Seija, a nurse from Finland, in 1976, and returned to the U.S. for graduate work before going back to Afghanistan in 1980.

They continued visits the next 30 years, providing logistical support in community health and development projects in some of the poorest and most remote regions of the country.

"It is almost beyond belief that Dan Terry would be murdered in Afghanistan," said Thomas Kemper, chief executive of Global Ministries.

"He loved the country with a passion and worked tirelessly on behalf of its most marginalized communities."

Terry is survived by his wife, three grown daughters and one granddaughter.

See a press release at www.iam-afghanistan.org for more about the victims.

For more information about a local service, call Trinity United Methodist Church at 683-5367.

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