What those at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., have been through over the past nine months almost defies comprehension. Some, like late assistant football coach Aaron Feis, gave their lives on the day of that horrific mass shooting in February.
Feis was among the 17 victims honored during a ceremony Thursday night at the school’s football game against Taravella High School (Coral Springs, Fla.). As the Sun-Sentinel reports, the Stoneman Douglas football program retired Feis’ No. 73 as part of a ceremony to honor Feis and the 16 other victims of the shooting.
“He’s deserving of that,” Stoneman Douglas head coach Willis May told the Sun-Sentinel. “It’s not because of what happened. If he lived and decided to quit the game, they should retire it just because of the person he was while he was here.”
RELATED: Marjory Stoneman Douglas hosts first football game since shooting that killed 17, wins by 17 | Stoneman Douglas QB commits to Nichols College coaches he met during shooting | Players carry casket for football coach killed in shooting
“He was Douglas football,” May told the Sun-Sentinel. “He’s been here a long time. He played here, he coached here. He loved Douglas football and everybody knew he loved Douglas football.
“He had nothing but the concern of the kids at all times, trying to make them better people, give them a chance to have a good life. And he changed a lot of lives while he was here. There’s a lot of kids that played here that will tell you that if it wasn’t for coach Feis, they wouldn’t have or be doing what they’re doing now.”
Per the Sun-Sentinel, the families of the 14 students and teacher Scott Beigel were given game balls. Former athletic director Chris Hixon’s family was given a framed gameday polo, and Feis’ family was given his framed jersey.
“We said we were going to do it, period,” May said of retiring Feis’ No. 73. “From the first day. Nobody needs to wear his jersey. That’s his jersey.”