Legendary football coach helps to rebuild his hometown - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Legendary football coach helps to rebuild his hometown

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PARKERSBURG (KWWL) -- In the sports world, when you think of Parkersburg, you think of football, you think of tradition, you think of Ed Thomas.

For about 35 years, Ed Thomas has been the leader of a powerhouse football program in that community.

Today, Ed Thomas the Aplington-Parkersburg football coach is helping to lead the charge as the community he loves dearly tries to recover from the tragedy of Sunday's devastating tornado..

Along the destructive path of Sunday's twister is the "Sacred Acre", the nickname for the Aplington-Parkersburg football stadium. Like much of the town of Parkersburg--the "Sacred Acre" is shattered, and full of debris. And the man with the winning game plans is struggling to find answers.

Ed Thomas, Aplington-Parkersburg Football Coach "Right now you don't know what to do...Where do you start?"

Coach Thomas and his Falcons have suffered very few defeats on their home field. But now the Aplington-Parkersburg head coach is enduring the greatest loss of his life.

Not the loss of the football field or the championship trophies destroyed during the storm. Coach Thomas is not even grieving over his house which was completely leveled on Sunday.

Coach Thomas is mourning the loss of life.  Friends and neighbors he will never see again.

"How do you replace those lives, those families"

The coach who teaches his players to play in pain is leading by example.

Even though he has no house, Ed Thomas is putting all of his energy into rebuilding his community. The Aplington-Parkersburg senior football players contacted their coach about resurrecting the "Sacred Acre."

Billy Aukes, Aplington-Parkersburg Football Player "We have a group of senior leaders, it's our ambition to get back on that football field."

 "We need to come out and play for the community."  said Aplington-Parkersburg Football Player Stanley John Tuve.

Thomas says he counts his blessings, thankful for all of the wonderful support the community of Parkersburg is receiving.  Thomas is also thankful that there isn't a greater loss of life.

"If the tornado had hit while we were in school there would have been many more lives lost."

Coach Thomas knows the work ahead is great, but he has no doubt Parkersburg will be re-built stronger than ever. And his game plan is to stay put.

"This is home... this is where we're staying."

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