In the midst of unspeakable tragedy, stories of heroism often emerge. Wednesday’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is no exception. Aaron Feis was one of the 17 people killed, and his actions may have prevented others from from suffering the same fate.
Feis was the assistant football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, but that wasn’t his only job. He was also a school security guard, a position he’d held for eight years. When the gunfire began, Feis’ instincts took over. Head football coach Willis May gave the Sun-Sentinel his account of what happened:
Feis, in his capacity as a school security guard, responded to the original call on the school’s security radio walkie-talkies. Someone asked on the radio if the loud sounds heard were firecrackers, according to May, who also carries a radio.
“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” May said.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Feis jumped between a student and the shooter, then pushed her out the door to get her away from the line of fire. Early on Thursday morning, the Twitter of the MS Douglas football team confirmed that Feis had died, and started spreading the word of his heroism.
It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories pic.twitter.com/O181FvuHl3
— MS Douglas Football (@MSDEagles) February 15, 2018
At the time of the shooting and shortly after, it was reported that Feis had only been shot at the scene and hadn’t died. But tributes to the coach, like those below, began pouring in.
This, ladies and gentlemen, if the face of a hero. Coach Aaron Feis was injured protecting a student in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and, at last report, is in critical condition. He is a friend to all students that know him. He was always so nice to me when I went to school there, and I know he is close with my brother and his friends. Please, take a moment to send healing prayers for him.
A post shared by Angelica Losada (@jelly_lo) on Feb 14, 2018 at 2:42pm PST
Can everyone please take a second to pray for my coach today he took serval bullets covering other students at Douglas . pic.twitter.com/8AMG7t6tpH
— Charlie Rothkopf (@RothkopfCharlie) February 14, 2018
It wasn’t until later in the day that people learned that Feis had died as a result of his injuries. Head coach Willis May shared his thoughts about Feis with the Sun-Sentinel:
“Big ol’ teddy bear,” May said of Feis. “Hardcore – he coached hard. Real good line. He did a great job with the [offensive] line. He took pride with working with those guys. Loyalty – I trusted him. He had my back. He worked hard. Just a good man. Loved his family. Loved his brother – just an excellent family man.”
Feis spent many years as part of the MS Douglas family. He played on the football team himself from 1995-98, and graduated in 1999. He returned to the school in 2002 as a coach. Feis is survived by his wife, Melissa, and a daughter.
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