"God willing, we will play our first home game here on this field this season." Ed Thomas made this stunning prediction the day after an F-5 tornado struck his hometwon of Parkersburg, Iowa. With the town reeling from the deaths of eight people and the destruction of 250 homes and businesses within 34 seconds, they needed something to hope for, and their beloved high school football coach offered it to them. One hundred days later, the home team scored a victory on the field they called The Sacred Acre. However, just as the town was starting to rebuild, another unbelievable tragedy struck. Ed Thomas was gunned down by a former student as he was coaching a group of athletes. What happened next in this incredible true story provides a lesson in grace and forgiveness that the people of Parkersburg and the entire nation won't soon forget.
On a Sunday in May 2008, an F-5 tornado struck the town of Parkersburg, Iowa, killing eight people and destroying 250 homes and businesses within 34 seconds. The next day, Parkersburg's beloved football coach, Ed Thomas, made a stunning prediction: 'God willing, we will play our first home game here on this field this season.' One hundred days later, the home team scored a victory on the field they dubbed 'The Sacred Acre,' serving as a galvanizing point for the town to band together and rebuild. But just as Parkersburg was recovering, another devastating tragedy struck. While working with a group of football and volleyball players early one morning, one of Ed's former students walked in and gunned him down point blank. Ed Thomas was 58. The murder of this hometown hero spread across national news headlines. Ed's community and family reeled from shock. Yet the story doesn't end here. What happened next proves that even a double tragedy is no match for faith, love ... and the power of forgiveness.
Mark Tabb has authored or coauthored more than twenty books including Mistaken Identity (Howard/Simon andamp; Schuster Books), which hit the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists the same week in April 2008.