Moving Video Pays Tribute to Man Who Drowned Trying to Save His Son With Down Syndrome

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 11, 2014   |   6:52PM   |   Washington, DC

UPDATE: The video has been removed in anticipation of a full-length video coming out shortly. Check back here soon for an update.

A new very moving video pays tribute to a man who drowned while trying to save his disabled son, who has Down Syndrome.

vanderwoudeThomas Vander Woude Sr. died in 2008 after leaping into a septic tank to save his youngest son, Joseph, who had fallen in. According to sources at the time, Thomas, 66, allowed himself to sink beneath the sewage while holding 20-year-old Joseph above his head until rescuers arrived. Joseph has Down syndrome. His father died so that his special needs son would live.

Another son, Fr. Thomas Vander Woude, officiated his dad’s funeral and inherited a strong pro-life view and love of people with Down Syndrome — including this heroic act to save a baby with Down Syndrome from abortion.


The comments from those who have seen the video show it has been well-received:

  • Absolutely amazing. I am so thankful that his story is being shared.
  • That is one of the most moving and beautiful videos I have ever seen. Thank you so much for sharing with the world. God Bless!
  • The crowning act of a holy life. He should be canonized, and may well.