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Book reveals how faith helped small town recover

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After what became one of the worst tornado seasons on record, the people of Parkersburg, Iowa, know first-hand the overwhelming feeling of loss currently being felt by storm victims from Alabama to North Carolina—and also what it takes to recover. A new book just released, The Sacred Acre: The Ed Thomas Story recounts devastating events, starting in 2008 when a massive F5 tornado hit Parkersburg, and details the town's recovery spearheaded in a unique and inspiring way by local high school football coach Ed Thomas—a local hero who was murdered just a year later.

While this story starts with the storm, it takes another tragic turn with the death of Coach Thomas who was gunned down by a former student and football player. The shocking death led to an extraordinary example of grace in the way Thomas' wife and children responded to the killer's family.

Jacksonville Jaguars Brad Meester and Aaron Kampman call Parkersburg, Iowa, their hometown. Both were coached by Ed Thomas and credit him with helping them succeed on and off the field. In fact, Kampman recently revealed how Coach Thomas' life lessons helped him deal with the recent NFL lockout. "Coach Thomas taught us the success of a football play came down to the fundamentals - attitude, effort, and execution," said Kampman. "He taught the same elements were needed for success in life. So when life throws a difficult &39;opponent&39; my way, I strive to keep the right attitude, knowing God is good and in control, give great effort to move forward, and execute by daily living out these principles."

Meester, recently recognized as an inspiration to six-year-old Luke Akerstrom, remembers the value of Coach Thomas' emphasis on character. *"You know one of the biggest things I think he leaves behind is the ethic and the character that he taught each and every one of them, you know, everybody that came through there. No matter where you went to, he always wanted you to remember what you were taught when you were growing up – those character traits," *said Meester.

Authored by the Ed Thomas family and Mark Tabb, The Sacred Acre reveals how the power of hope, fueled by faith and forgiveness, inspired not only the residents of Parkersburg but people across the country.  Tony Dungy wrote the foreword for the book. A special event was held August 19that Aplington-Parkersburg High School to celebrate Ed Thomas's memory. 

After what became one of the worst tornado seasons on record, the people of Parkersburg, Iowa, know first-hand the overwhelming feeling of loss currently being felt by storm victims from Alabama to North Carolina—and also what it takes to recover. A new book just released, The Sacred Acre: The Ed Thomas Story recounts devastating events, starting in 2008 when a massive F5 tornado hit Parkersburg, and details the town's recovery spearheaded in a unique and inspiring way by local high school football coach Ed Thomas—a local hero who was murdered just a year later.

While this story starts with the storm, it takes another tragic turn with the death of Coach Thomas who was gunned down by a former student and football player. The shocking death led to an extraordinary example of grace in the way Thomas' wife and children responded to the killer's family.

Jacksonville Jaguars Brad Meester and Aaron Kampman call Parkersburg, Iowa, their hometown. Both were coached by Ed Thomas and credit him with helping them succeed on and off the field. In fact, Kampman recently revealed how Coach Thomas' life lessons helped him deal with the recent NFL lockout. "Coach Thomas taught us the success of a football play came down to the fundamentals - attitude, effort, and execution," said Kampman. "He taught the same elements were needed for success in life. So when life throws a difficult &39;opponent&39; my way, I strive to keep the right attitude, knowing God is good and in control, give great effort to move forward, and execute by daily living out these principles."

Meester, recently recognized as an inspiration to six-year-old Luke Akerstrom, remembers the value of Coach Thomas' emphasis on character. *"You know one of the biggest things I think he leaves behind is the ethic and the character that he taught each and every one of them, you know, everybody that came through there. No matter where you went to, he always wanted you to remember what you were taught when you were growing up – those character traits," *said Meester.

Authored by the Ed Thomas family and Mark Tabb, The Sacred Acre reveals how the power of hope, fueled by faith and forgiveness, inspired not only the residents of Parkersburg but people across the country.  Tony Dungy wrote the foreword for the book. A special event was held August 19that Aplington-Parkersburg High School to celebrate Ed Thomas's memory. 

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