Hundreds of people filled Church of the Glades in Coral Springs Thursday to honor slain Stoneman Douglas High School assistant football coach Aaron Feis.
Feis, 37, was killed in the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school. Witnesses say he was shot as he ran at the shooter and pushed students out of harm’s way.
Ever the coach, Feis’s memorial service opened with the singing of the national anthem.
“He was a big bear of a man, with a heart as big as his frame,” said Pastor George Callahan.
Flanked by 17 flickering candles, family, friends and players shared stories about Feis.
They spoke of the hard-working family man who sometimes drove the team bus and did landscaping to make ends meet. Feis was never too busy to make time -- for anybody.
Coaching colleagues remembered the jovial coach with the wise smirk. He’d give players a ride home when they needed one — in his beat-up, 30-year old pickup with broken windshield wipers.
Eight Stoneman Douglas football players in their black-and-maroon home jerseys carried Feis’s casket.
Players in Douglas Eagles’ jerseys filled several rows at the church, and some players from neighboring schools came wearing theirs.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel was Feis’s friend. Feis was loved by students and players because they knew he had their back, Israel said.
And nobody ever called him Aaron, Israel added. Like Lebron or Jordan, it was always just “Feis.”
Outside the funeral service for #StonemanDouglas asst. football coach Aaron Feis, a giant American flag shot through with 17 holes. @WLRN #parkland #douglas #stonemanshooting #florida #sofla #broward #shooting #floridashooting @NPR pic.twitter.com/nPg5nHMBHz
— Peter Haden (@HadenMedia) February 22, 2018