The family of the New Hampshire journalist executed by ISIS militants over the summer accepted a prestigious honor on his behalf Wednesday evening.
It was a bittersweet evening For John and Diane Foley; they were honored to accept the 12th Annual Nackey Loeb First Amendment Award on their son James' behalf, but they just wished he was on stage with them.
"Jim would have certainly been honored," Diane Foley said.
U.S. & World
The award honors Granite State residents who defend and uphold the First Amendment rights as Americans. Most people will agree that there is no one more deserving than the New Hampshire journalist who dedicated his life to giving a voice to the voiceless.
"He went to places where there is no free press so that he could tell those stories that people in charge did not like told, and it was a dangerous thing to do," said David Tirrell-Wysocki, the executive director of the Loeb School.
James Foley spent years reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2011, he was held captive in Libya for 44 days. He went to Syria in 2012 and was captured by militants around Thanksgiving.
"Jim was passionate about freedom of the press that's why he risked his life to be in Syria," his mother said.
This summer, Foley became the first American civilian to be executed by ISIS militants. Since then, Foley's parents have found comfort in one of their son's best friends, Nicolas Henin.
"It's the closest we can get to Jim," Foley said.
Henin is a French journalist who not only spent seven months in captivity with Foley, but spent many days handcuffed to him in a tiny cell.
"Two dozen men held together in a tiny room, it does not happen without conflict, but James was the one in the group who managed to stay friends with every single one of us," Henin said. "He was very brave."
Diane and John Foley say their son's death has left a whole in their hearts, but that his life fills them with pride.
"His courage, his commitment and his compassion challenges us all to make something good out of something that was horrible," Foley's father said.
Wednesday's event raised $100,000 to help the Nackey Loeb School continue to offer free journalism classes and workshops. Meanwhile, the guest speaker, Donald Trump, made his own donation to the James Foley Legacy Fund.