Many of you have probably already come across the story of Thomas Vander Woude who drowned last week in a septic tank while saving his son from the same fate. I first heard about this on Sunday evening (the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) at the 5 p.m. Mass at Church of Our Savior in New York City, where Fr George Rutler preached on his life as an example of the sacrificial love that sought always to emulate the love of Christ on the Cross even until his dying moments. The Washington Post ran a profile that only confirmed for me the truth of Fr Rutler's words.
May the Angels lead him into paradise.
By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 10, 2008; A01
If you ever ran into Nokesville dad Thomas S. Vander Woude, chances are you would also see his son Joseph. Whether Vander Woude was volunteering at church, coaching basketball or working on his farm, Joseph was often right there with him, pitching in with a smile, friends and neighbors said yesterday.
When Joseph, 20, who has Down syndrome, fell into a septic tank Monday in his back yard, Vander Woude jumped in after him. He saved him. And he died where he spent so much time living: at his son's side.
"That's how he lived," Vander Woude's daughter-in-law and neighbor, Maryan Vander Woude, said yesterday. "He lived sacrificing his life, everything, for his family."
Read the rest of the story here.