Inspirational speaker at Lourdes, Aaron Thomas - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Inspirational speaker at Lourdes, Aaron Thomas

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Students at Lourdes High School were joined by a special guest Thursday, Aaron Thomas. Aaron is the son of former Parkersburg, Iowa's football coach, Ed Thomas, who was murdered by a former player.

Aaron's message to students was both uplifting and full of grace.

His father, Ed, helped put the small city on the map by coaching the football to two state titles. Ed was also named the NFL high school coach of the year, after four guys from Parkersburg joined the NFL.

In 2008, an EF5 tornado destroyed nearly half of the town including the Thomas' home. Ed helped re-build the community and beloved high school where he coached football. In 2009, disaster would strike again for the small community when Ed was murdered.

"We had a lot of attention and a mentally ill, former player, diagnosed with schizophrenia and had also been on meth. One morning we had 22 young people lifting and he came in and shot my dad 7 times in the weight room in front of 22 young people," explained Ed's son, Aaron Thomas.

Mark Becker shot Ed multiple times in the head. Instead of turning to anger, the Thomas family embraced the Becker family. Aaron Thomas, said he hopes to help students understand they will face tough times in their life, but it's how you chose to handle them that will shape the rest of your life.

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