Christopher Caswell Thomas, 50, died on Wednesday, December 5, in Arlington, VA. He was born September 27, 1968 in Lancaster, California, and he is survived by his parents, Elizabeth “Betty” Thomas and Louis Caswell Thomas; his wife, Blythe Kubina Thomas and two children, Colton Caswell Thomas and Wyatt Caswell Thomas.
Chris worked tirelessly for Global Health (GH) at the United States Agency for International Development for more than 16 years. He was extremely dedicated to the Bureau and served as the lead communications officer for the Office of Infectious Disease, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the GH liaison within Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA) and filled numerous other roles throughout the Bureau. He provided strategic counsel to political and civilian leadership, as well as technical staff on matters of public interest; he led or helped plan, implement and evaluate communications highlighting U.S. efforts to improve health and advance development globally. He was involved in health communications and media efforts to unleash social change and inspire collective action for global public goods in health, agriculture and the environment by empowering and amplifying the voice of the people USAID serves on finding success and opportunity in a way that uncovers stories of hardship, hard work and hard-earned gains.
Prior to joining USAID, he served as Director of Global Communication and Policy for the American Red Cross National Headquarters where he oversaw operations policy, and internal and external communications for the organization. With the Red Cross, he deployed in support of humanitarian relief efforts following international disasters and humanitarian emergencies, including those in Honduras, Taiwan, Mozambique and Kosovo. A pilot, he was a member of the National Transportation Safety Board’s Aviation Incident and Response (AIR) team.
Prior to the Red Cross, Chris served in the United States Air Force as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist and Public Affairs where he defended the United States and protected its interests through air and space power. In addition to serving two tours in the Arabian Gulf area, he supported Operation Provide Promise. He provided tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to U.S. and allied war fighters and decision-makers. Airborne Linguists provide critical intelligence in support of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen conducting military operations. As a Public Affairs Specialist, he was selected for Air Force and Department of Defense honors while managing public outreach efforts during war-time conditions in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and Bavarian conditions in Germany.
Chris graduated with a Bachelor of Science at the University of Maryland. In 2001, Christopher was one of 30 people to attend a year-long-in-residence executive training at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, the Defense Language Institute and the Federal Executive Institute. He has won awards from CNN and The American Women in Radio and Television, among others. Christopher also enjoyed writing and has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and many other publications.
On Saturday, December 15 there will be a gathering from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 W. Braddock Rd, Alexandria, Va. In lieu of flowers, an account has been established to support Colton’s and Wyatt’s education https://www.gofundme.com/college-funds-for-colton-and-wyatt