It's Been Two Years Since The Tragedy At Douglas High

FRIDAY FOCUS: Trying To Digest A Senseless Tragedy – Two Years Later

Two years ago today, parents lost children, brothers lost sisters, sisters lost brothers, grandparents lost grandchildren, administrators and teachers lost students – and we lost two very close friends.

On this Valentine’s Day, 17 families are not handing out candy and Valentine’s Day cards and kisses. Instead, the grief continues for those tragically affected by the Douglas High tragedy, where 17 lives were lost in a day that will live on forever.

The wounds are so fresh, even the mention of this horrific day anywhere in this country, stirs the stomach in a way that it did on that Wednesday in 2018.

For the friends and families of Alyssa Alhadeff, Scott Beigel, Martin Duque, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg, Chris Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup and Peter Wang, life ended along with their loved ones on this day – and nothing can be said or done that will replace these productive and vital members of our community.

No matter if you knew them or not, that February 14th will always be a time where we will all stop and remember – and pray for their families.

If you knew Coach Aaron Feis and Athletic Director Chris Hixon like we did, the pit of your stomach hurts a little more today.

Chris Hixon was the most genuine person you want to meet. A service veteran and a huge sports fan, this was someone who knew how to balance family and his position of overseeing several sports – making each and every coach and athlete happy – while giving his boss something to be proud about.

Hixon was someone who coached wrestling, so he understood the plight of every other coach he worked hard for. He knew that the pay that these coaches receive was a joke, but always did his best to give them the best equipment and look great in new uniforms.

His loss as a father and husband still brings tears to your eyes. His loss as a friend is still tough to digest.

The talks we had about sports while he was at South Broward High School always followed with gratitude and thanks for what we did.

No matter if it was soccer, football, baseball or basketball – male or female, nobody got special treatment – and that carried over to his time at Douglas High.

There is not a day that his memory does not live on.

COACH FEIS WAS A ROCK

Whether he was a player or a coach – a father or someone who stood guard over the hallways at the high school, Aaron Feis was indeed a rock.

Stubborn and opinionated, we had battles over players and his football team. He would never give in when he felt he was right, and often called to tell me about a player that was better than the scouts and recruiters thought they were.

His bond with the players and head coach Willis May is what every school should have. He was a fighter and did everything possible to ensure the players who wore the same jersey he once did for the Eagles had every opportunity to succeed.

As the fight continues to make our students safer and the battles wage on for those who are trying to keep the memory of all those who lost life on this day, it has become a time for reflection.

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