Harry, a medical doctor, and Echo, a physician assistant, are founders and executive directors of The Luke Commission, registered as a non-government organization in the Kingdom of Eswatini and a non-profit charity in the United States.
While visiting Eswatini in 2004, the VanderWals saw the devastation of HIV/AIDS throughout rural Eswatini. In 2005, the couple founded The Luke Commission, named after the doctor who authored the Gospel of Luke in the Bible.
The VanderWals and their six children call Eswatini their full-time home.
In 2002, Harry graduated from Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, Ohio. In 2006, Harry completed the Combined Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency program at Wright State.
Harry was honored by Wright State University in 2008 as the Young Alumnus of the Year. He currently serves as an Associate Professor for the Boonshoft School of Medicine. Harry grew up in Rutherfordton, North Carolina.
Echo trained as a physician assistant at Kettering College of Medical Arts, graduating in the year 2000 with distinction. She practiced in surgery until the birth of the couple’s triplet sons and then practiced in pediatrics while Harry finished his residency. Echo spent her childhood in Bonner County, Idaho, home to TLC’s USA office.
Both Harry and Echo graduated with highest honors from Cedarville University in 1996, each with a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology. In 2011, Harry and Echo were honored by Cedarville as Alumni of the Year.
The VanderWals now call Eswatini their full-time home. The VanderWal family includes six children. Jacob, Luke, and Zebadiah are 22 and recently started university coursework online. Zion is 19 years old and in 10th grade; Hosanna is 11 and ready for 3rd grade, and Gilead is 8 years old and starting 1st grade.