Tom Ridge was active in Republican Politics for several years. Both at the federal level and the state level in Pennsylvania. Reportedly, he was discussed as a potential U.S. vice president at least three times. He also became regarded as one of the most foremost experts on national security and combatting terrorism.

In recent years, Ridge joined the boards of many high-profile companies. He also emerged as one of the most prominent critics of Republican President Donald Trump. Including endorsing Democrat Joe Biden over Trump in 2020, as noted by CNN, and suffered from some serious health scares.

Hospitalized following a stroke

Tom Ridge was taken to the emergency room from his residence near Washington, D.C.. When he arrived, he was conscious and shortly after underwent surgery to remove a blood clot. According to the Associated Press, his condition was considered 'critical but stable.'

It's not the first major health issue for Ridge in the last several years. In 2017, he had a heart attack while at a hotel in Austin, Texas. Ridge was there to attend a conference for the Republican Governors Association. Many years before, he also experienced a ruptured appendix.

Ridge's family asked people to pray for his full recovery. Among those apparently doing so are current Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and his wife, Frances.

Wolf put a message out on Twitter stating as much.

At the time of his stroke, Ridge had been serving as CEO of the security company Ridge Global. He was also the founder of the company. In addition, he's had major roles with companies including Home Depot, Hershey's, Exelon, and Deloitte.

Is a highly-decorated Vietnam veteran

The grandson and great-grandson of Czechoslovakian and British immigrants, Ridge graduated with honors from Harvard. Shortly after, he enrolled at the Dickinson School of Law. While a student there, he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War.

Tom Ridge was a member of the United States Army, reaching the rank of staff sergeant.

Decorations he was awarded for his service include the Bronze Star Medal and the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross. An ear injury during his tour of duty left him needing to use a hearing aid. Ultimately, his ruptured appendix led to the conclusion of his military career.

After leaving the Army, Ridge returned to law school and obtained his degree. Initially, he went into private practice. But eventually, he became a prosecutor for Erie County.

In 1982, Ridge was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's now-abolished 21st District. He won his first race by less than 750 votes but would be re-elected five times. In 1994, Ridge was elected governor of Pennsylvania over Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mark Singel.

He was re-elected in 1998.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attack, Ridge was named the first U.S. homeland security advisor. Later, he became the first U.S. secretary of homeland security. It wasn't at the time, but the position has since become a Cabinet position.