Jack Kerwick
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Sometimes homes are rendered fatherless through choice. Other times, as in the case of the family of Andrew “Andy” Tobias, there is no choice.

I haven’t seen or spoken to Andy Tobias in well over 20 years. We met when we were in the first grade together, and then several years later in high school. But the woman with whom he would eventually fall in love and form a family, Laura—also an old classmate of mine—would occasionally touch base with me on Facebook.

This past Christmas, just hours before their children would be up ripping open the presents that Santa would bring them, Andy died of a massive heart attack. He was just 41 years old.

Andy was a plumber and Laura had been a stay-at-home mother. Given that, by all accounts, Andy had been in good health, his death obviously came as a great shock. For Laura and her three children, an old friend of the family has set up a fund—“The Andy Tobias Family Fund”—at giveforward.com.

To the readers of this column, Andy’s and Laura’s are but two arbitrarily selected names from an infinite sea of the tragedy-stricken. Still, I make this plea on their behalf because I know their circumstances. I know that Andy and Laura are two people who valued family above all. It is this that accounts for why Andy became a father to, not just the two year-old girl he shared with Laura, but the two children the latter had from a previous marriage. It is their abiding love for family that explains why the two did their best to insure that Laura could be a stay-at-home mom.

Now, Laura and her children need help.

Andy was neither a member of the armed forces nor a police officer. Yet he was family man, one of the many who, along with Laura, labor daily to hold the line against the barbarism that’s never far from engulfing the civilized world.

As I write this, the terrorist attacks that have just been visited upon Russia at this time leading up to the Winter Olympics remind us of just how precarious is civilization. Parents, mothers and fathers, are the glue holding it together.

Andy and Laura tried to do right by their family and their civilization. Please pray for them now and, if able, do your best to help Laura and her children by contributing to The Andy Tobias Family Fund at giveforward.com.
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Jack Kerwick

Jack Kerwick received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Temple University. His area of specialization is ethics and political philosophy. He is a professor of philosophy at several colleges and universities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Jack blogs at Beliefnet.com: At the Intersection of Faith & Culture. Contact him at jackk610@verizon.net or friend him on facebook. You can also follow him on twitter.