On February 14, 2018, a senseless attack was carried out on the faculty and students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. It is a school that I am very familiar with, for years I practiced with the team and even took my little brother to train at their wrestling club. I am very familiar with the campus and even knew some of the staff members.
Staff members and students showed tremendous courage in selflessly risking their lives for the sake of others. Of the 17 people who were killed, several died protecting others. I would like to take a few moments to talk about one who was particularly important to me, Stoneman Douglas’ athletic director and my former high school wrestling coach Chris Hixon.
During my sophomore year of high school we got a new assistant wrestling coach. He was a little fellow but he had a lot of heart. He loved to talk about wrestling in his home state of Pennsylvania and how tough the competition was. He was small and not super athletic so physically, he had a hard time keeping up but that didn’t keep him from trying. He would often workout with me even though I outweighed him by 40lbs.
The thing that I remember most about Coach Hixon was his complete lack of fear when it came to serving others. I remember one night after a match I didn’t have a ride home. None of my teammates were going in that direction and my mom didn’t have a car. I planned on walking home but Coach Hixon offered me a ride. This was a problem because Coach was a small white guy and my neighborhood was not the best place for a small white guy to visit at night. In most cases when white people came to my neighborhood, it was either to buy drugs or to arrest people. Knowing this, I didn’t want to put my him in danger. In fact, that is why I hadn’t asked him in the first place. At first, I declined the offer but he insisted even after I explain the possible danger. He gave me a ride that night and didn’t really care about the risks. His selfless act is a huge part of why I do the job that I do.
This story gives you a small glimpse into the heart of the man who would eventually sacrifice his life to save his students.
Lord, I thank you for the lives that were saved on that day and I pray that even though this was a terrible event, that it might bring some to salvation. Romans 8:28 tells us that all things happen for the good of those who love You. You never said that events like this are good or that you approve of them or cause them. But you do assure us that if we love You and are faithful good can come of it. Lord, please reveal yourself in a greater way to those who were affected by this tragic event.