America Abroad Media Awards – A Salute to Films and the Clandestine Services


by Connie Lawn

This year’s third Awards dinner honored four people for their remarkable work in films.

The emotional tribute was to the real heroes of the film Argo – Tony Mendez and his wife, Jonna, as well as Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor. Sadly, the Ambassador had planned to attend the award ceremony, but died earlier this month and his funeral was held the day before the event. In an amazing display of strength and commitment, his wife Dr. Pat Taylor came to the dinner and spoke about sheltering six Americans during the Iranian hostage crises of 1979 and 1980. She is tiny and frail, but her voice was powerful, and she received a long standing ovation.

The appearance of Tony Mendez was also emotional. The former CIA Master of Disguise suffers from Parkinson Disease, but he spoke clearly and slowly. Ironically, one of the other four honorees also has Parkinson (as do I), but we were all met with patience and understanding.