Aaron Thomas Credits Faith in Overcoming Father's Death

Updated: 03/09/2014 11:03 PM
Created: 03/09/2014 9:44 PM
By: Sean Boswell

(ABC 6 News) -- The Fellowship of Christian Athletes held their annual Night of Champions Banquet on Sunday, and the keynote speaker was an inspiring one.

"His priorities were faith, family and football and he wholeheartedly believed in that order," said speaker Aaron Thomas.

Thomas' dad, Ed, was a legendary football coach at Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, Iowa, and somebody Aaron spoke to every day of his life. He says the faith his dad instilled in him is what made him strong enough to survive after his father was gone.

"I just tried to say what I think my dad would have said had he been able to be there," said Thomas.

Thomas recalling taking media questions just after his father was shot and killed by a former player right inside the schools weight room. His answer was to pray for the shooters family.

"If my dad was going to have any kind of legacy, it was going to be on how our family responded in a horrific moment," said Thomas.

Thomas received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2009 ESPY’s for being able to forgive the shooter's family.

"We're all going to go through tough things in our lives, things we don't ask for, maybe we don't even deserve, but it's truly how we respond I think that makes us the people we are," said Thomas.

Sunday night he hoped to relay that message to a group of young athletes, parents and coaches.

"I hope tonight people will look at their lives, what is it they stand for and who can they impact," said Thomas. "I think when people go through things in their lives they either get closer to God or they try to run away."

As his father taught him: faith, family and football.

Aaron Thomas shared his inspiring story to a group of athletes from around the area at the Night of Champions Banquet