Magazine article The New American

Heroes of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Magazine article The New American

Heroes of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Article excerpt

On February 14, a day in which most people celebrate love, a great evil took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen students and teachers lost their lives at the hands of a cowardly gunman who does not deserve to have his name mentioned. And while the entire nation mourns the loss of innocent lives, there were also heroes who emerged that day who deserve recognition.

Among them is Aaron Feis, the school's assistant football coach and security guard, who witnesses say threw himself in front of students to shield them from bullets. Feis died later that day during surgery.

Football coach Willis May told the Orlando Sentinel that Feis responded to the initial call on the school's security radio walkie-talkies. May recalls that when someone on the radio suggested the gunshots may have been firecrackers, Feis responded, "No, that is not firecrackers." That was the last the staff on the radio heard from him.

According to the school's spokeswoman, Denise Legtio, Feis died as he lived: "a very kind soul ... a hero." Feis leaves behind a wife and a daughter.

Geography teacher Scott Beigel, 35, opened the door of his classroom to let in a group of students who were attempting to escape the gunman. One student, Kelsey Friend, told Good Morning America that the gunman attempted to enter the classroom, but Beigel stood in the gunman's way and attempted to relock the door to the classroom. The gunman shot him dead right on the spot.

"Mr. Beigel was my hero and he still will forever be my hero," high-school freshman Friend told CNN on February 15. "I will never forget the actions that he took for me and for the fellow students of the classroom.... I am alive today because of him."

Students told CNN that an unnamed janitor saved the lives of at least 40 students during the shooting by stopping them after she saw them unknowingly running toward the gunman instead of away from him. Student David Hogg recalled to CNN that the janitor then ushered the students into a culinary classroom for safety.

"Without her, who knows how many of us would have died, 'cause we were easily 100 feet away from the freshman building, and again, we thought this was a drill," Hogg told the ABC 13.

"She saved my life, and she saved easily 40 others there," Hogg said.

Colton Haab, a 17-year-old Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps student, jumped into action after hearing gunshots. He told CNN he led over 60 students to safety in a JROTC classroom, where he instructed students to use Kevlar sheets as shelter.

"We took those sheets, and we put them in front of everybody so they weren't seen, because they were behind a solid object and the Kevlar would slow the bullet down," Haab said. "I didn't think it was going to stop it, but it would definitely slow it down to make it from a catastrophic to a lifesaving thing."

Haab told CNN he and a friend were preparing to fight the gunman if he tried to enter the room. "I was a little scared. I was more worried about getting home safe, making sure everybody got home safe," he said. …

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