Aaron Feis’ heroism and sacrifice have inspired a country.
The slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas assistant football coach died “protecting others” from a mass murderer’s rifle Wednesday, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said.
Witnesses say Feis, the 37-year-old husband and father, placed himself between the shooter and students and pushed a freshman girl out of Nikolas Cruz’s line of sight. Feis was shot in the process and died hours later. He was one of 17 killed in the largest school shooting in state history.
Feis has since become the heroic face of the massacre; a GoFundMe account was launched Thursday to raise money for his wife Melissa and their young daughter. As of Friday afternoon, nearly $80,000 had been raised.
But that is not nearly enough, people close (and not so close) to Feis say. They want the nation to know — and remember — his bravery.
So it’s not a surprise, then, that an online campaign has gathered steam hoping to convince ESPN to name Feis its 2018 Arthur Ashe Courage Award recipient. The award is given at each summer’s ESPY Awards, and past winners include Muhammad Ali, Pat Tillman, Nelson Mandela and Caitlyn Jenner.
Henry Mack III, a former Baltimore County cop, seemed to come up with the idea Thursday morning, tweeting out:
The message has since been retweeted more than 22,000 times and liked 57,000 more. Mack later clarified that Douglas athletic director Chris Hixon, also killed Wednesday, should also be recognized.
Some conservatives have criticized the network for what they see as a political agenda, with Jenner and Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, honored in consecutive years.
But it’s hard to see how anyone would object to this year’s award going to Feis.
Twitter seemed to agree.