Bobcat Strong: Aaron Thomas motivates Epworth students, parents - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bobcat Strong: Aaron Thomas motivates Epworth students, parents to push through tragedy

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Just months after a community was rocked by the death of four Epworth teens, they are pushing to lead through adversity.

In August, four 14-year-old boys, Nicholas Kramer of Dyersville, Bryce Wilbert of Epworth, Sean Kenneally of Peosta, and Mitchell Kluesner of Epworth were all killed in Dubuque County when a truck hit the John Deere utility vehicle they were riding in.

Wednesday night at Western Dubuque High, Aaron Thomas, currently a coach and teacher in Parkersburg presented a message to students and parents about pushing through adversity.

"It was just attention, he just grasped it," said Western Dubuque Junior, Cortney Glaze. "It really hit home what his message was."

The City of Epworth continues to reel after the deaths of the four teens. They would have been freshmen at Western Dubuque High. 

However, members of the community said they're still rallying together.

"People you may have never talked to, comes together because it's the community and that's important," said Glaze.

"Opportunity and platform are two ways to respond the tragedy,"  said Aaron Thomas, son of the late Ed Thomas.

Thomas knows responding to tragedy first hand after his father, Coach Ed Thomas was shot and killed June 24, 2009 by one of his own football players.

Thomas motivated everyone that they have the power to choose how to react when terrible tragedy rocks their lives.

"You never know when we're going to have that opportunity,that platform and unfortunately things are going to happen to us we don't ask for and maybe we don't deserve, but it shows who we are as people and how we respond to that," said Thomas. "You can't do what everyone else says, you have to be different, you have to be tough."

Thomas says if he continued to let death and tragedy tear him down, he wouldn't be able to carry out his true passion for impacting lives as a coach, teacher, administrator, and speaker.

"You think a bout Western Dubuque as a whole, as a community you think of a group that been through some things, but they've rallied around one another," said Thomas.

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