(Extensions of Remarks - December 09, 2003)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2532]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                     TRIBUTE TO MR. WILLIAM THOMAS


                          HON. DONALD M. PAYNE

                             of new jersey

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, December 8, 2003

  Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize and offer my 
congratulations to a hero in my community, Mr. William Thomas. During 
this holiday season, we are lucky to have such a heartwarming reminder 
of the goodness within the human spirit.
  As Mr. Thomas was riding to work with his wife, Jamelia, and two of 
their children, on East Hazelwood Avenue in Rahway, NJ, he saw a group 
of people gathered along the river's edge. Upon stopping, he observed a 
woman flailing in the water.
  Disregarding his own safety, and not much of a swimmer himself, Mr. 
Thomas dove into the 50 degree water to rescue the drowning woman. 
Struggling to control the panicking, hysterical woman, he managed to 
pull her close enough to the shoreline for police officers to draw her 
from the river.
  He then returned home to quickly shower and change clothes, setting 
out again on his drive to work at the Woodbridge Developmental Center 
in Avenel. He later discovered that the drowning woman also worked at 
this state-run residential facility for the mentally and physically 
impaired. They had never met.
  Without a thought for his welfare, Mr. Thomas placed another human's 
life above his own. I am touched by his sacrifice and his service. I am 
honored by his presence in my community, and I ask you to join me as I 
salute Mr. Thomas and his outstanding display of compassion and