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UPDATED: Victim of Afghanistan shootings was from Park Rapids

Dr. Thomas Grams

The murder of a Park Rapids graduate who left a flourishing dental practice to help people in impoverished countries has been heart wrenching for his family and the small community he attended school in.

"He was just a great person," said a choked up Tim Grams, identical twin brother of Dr. Thomas Grams, 51. "He didn't strike you as that type of person, but he was."

Tom was a gentle soul with a wonderful sense of humor who would come back from medical missions "with fabulous stories," Tim said.

The brothers were 1977 graduates of Park Rapids Area High School.

Tom Grams was part of a 10-member medical team providing health care to northern Afghanistan when the group was massacred last Thursday north of Kabul. Their bullet-riddled bodies were found Friday. The families were notified over the weekend and Tim Grams notified friends via Facebook.

The boys are the sons of Paul and Irene Grams, who still live in Park Rapids. Paul Grams said he could not bring himself to discuss his son's death.

The Taliban has claimed credit for the slayings, maintaining members killed all but one Muslim in the group sponsored by International Assistance Mission. The Taliban said the group was a ministry trying to spread Christianity.

The group was distributing toothbrushes and eyeglasses, not Christian teachings, said Tim Grams.

"Absolutely not," Tim Grams said. "Really the only time he went with IAM was this last trip. He'd never worked with that group before.

"The other groups he worked with were totally non-religious, no religious affiliation whatsoever," Tim Grams said.

Read the rest of the story in Wednesday's Park Rapids Enterprise.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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