A courageous football coach has sacrificed his life to protect his students from a horrific massacre.
In the last heroic action of his life, Aaron Fies threw himself in front several students after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14.
On Thursday morning, the school's football team confirmed on Twitter that Fies was one of the 17 victims who were tragically killed in the 18th school shooting of the new year. He passed away shortly after being rushed into surgery.
"It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis," the post reads. "He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories."
Fellow football coach Willis May told the Orlando Sentinel he knew the slain hero was about to risk his life when he heard him speak through the school's security walkie-talkies. May said Fies was responding to another security guard's question on if he too heard the sound of firecrackers.
"I heard Aaron say, 'No, that is not firecrackers. That’s the last I heard of him," he said.
May added that he'll remember Fies, who was married with a young daughter, for his loving personality and strong work ethic.
"Big ol’ teddy bear,” May said. “Hardcore — he coached hard. Real good line. He did a great job with the [offensive] line. He took pride with working with those guys. Loyalty — I trusted him. He had my back. He worked hard. Just a good man. Loved his family. Loved his brother — just an excellent family man."
But Fies's co-workers aren't the only ones mourning over the late football coach.