Little League coach, Pop Warner coach, Boy Scout leader, and member of Asbury Methodist Church Mike Grady and his family were on vacation in North Carolina.
His12-year-old son, Austin, was sliding down some falls, when his foot got wedged by a boulder. The current, exerting some 400 pounds of pressure, pushed his face underwater.
Grady plunged into the river, positioned himself upstream and held his son’s head above water by using his body to shield Austin from a torrent of water that would eventually rip Grady’s shirt off his back.
Bystanders who heard their screams for help worked from the surrounding rocks to free Austin’s foot. Soon professional rescuers arrived and went into action. Forty minutes later, rescuers were finally able to work his foot free.
At that point, Grady, suffering hypothermia, summoned his waning strength and lifted his son to the rescue workers who carried Austin to safety.
Mike Grady, age 52, saved the life of his son.
Unfortunately, by this time Grady himself had become stuck in the rocks. Several rescue workers were swept downstream in vain efforts to free the father.
The icy water that pounded him was just too much for Grady. The rescue workers just couldn’t keep his head out of the water. He passed out and died moments after saving his son.
At Mike’s funeral, his son Tyler, 9, read a tribute,
Dear Daddy, you will always be a memory in all of our hearts. You were the kindest and smartest person I ever knew. You risked your life to save Austin…. I love you very much, and I will never forget you. You are a hero.
this is a very sad story, but i like to think there’s a silver lining. austin is young, but i imagine he can begin to wrap his head around what his dad did. it’s hardly adequate consolation & it’s no substitute for his father’s presence, but i hope that this will have a profound & inspiring effect on both these boys (i have no doubt he would’ve done the same for tyler). their dad was not only willing to do whatever he could to save them but he proved, without hesitation, the extent to which he loved them. how incredibly powerful is the thought that i am loved! i am worth saving! i can only imagine how it feels to know that the man who loved me more than any other on earth forfeited his life for mine.
this is the kind of dad i aim to be.
this is an awesome human story, and also a great spiritual reminder to me of what an amazing blessing it is to have a savior who did do that for me [us]