PARKLAND (CBSMiami) — Students, parents and residents from across North Broward County streamed into the Church by the Glades in Coral Springs Thursday where funeral services were held for Coach Aaron Feis, killed in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.
A fire truck hoisted a huge American flag in the street in front of the church.
“We celebrate a hero,” Pastor David Hughes told the mourners, which included members of the Douglas Wolverines football team that Feis helped coach.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel, a long-time friend of the coach, spoke of his heroism.
“Before you even heard how he died, you knew he died putting himself in harm’s way to save others,” Israel told the packed church.
Feis, who was not armed, faced off with the shooter, putting himself directly between the danger and students.
“His acts were very heroic. His heroism is going to live on with us forever,” student Tyler Boggs said.
If Feis was beloved at school, he was a giant in the community.
“He was the mayor of Parkland, because if you needed anything or anyone, he was the guy to go to,” said fellow Coach Mark Verden.
Feis’s dad, two brothers and sister remembered him.
“Aaron, as a person, is one who always had a smile on his face, sharing his heart with you, because that’s Aaron,” his brother Mike, said.
Feis was remembered as a tireless man, devoted to school, community and family.
“He worked two, sometimes three jobs, providing for his family the best he could. He was the epitome of what a husband and father should be,” said former student Brandon Corona.
First responders from multiple agencies, who rushed to the school last week, escorted the hearse carrying Feis’s body to the cemetery from the church. They departed with sirens sounding.
Feis, who also graduated from Stoneman Douglas, is survived by his wife, Melissa and daughter, Arielle.
He was one of three adults killed in the school massacre, all were involved in the athletic program, among them Athletic Director Chris Hixon and Track Coach Scott Beigle. All three died trying to protect students.
Funeral services were also held Thursday for Cara Loughran.
For her, this was a day celebrating life at the Kraeer Funeral Home in Coral Springs.
Friends say the 14-year-old loved life, loved the beach and loved Irish dance.
Her death has been covered extensively in Irish newspapers.
Cara’s parents moved to the states fifteen years ago.