Northwest Iowa students inspired by tragic story to stay positiv - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Northwest Iowa students inspired by tragic story to stay positive throughout life

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CHEROKEE, Iowa (KTIV) - Putting your best foot forward every day may not be easy for all of us. But, a positive attitude goes a long way. One Iowa man has spent the past four years traveling the country sharing his story, hoping it makes a difference in the lives of others.

"It's more important than appearance, giftness, or skill. It'll make or break a company, a church, or a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice regarding the attitude we will reach for that day," Speaker Aaron Thomas said.

This message about how attitude changes everything comes from Aaron Thomas' father, Ed Thomas. His dad was a football coaching legend in Parkersburg, Iowa. In 34 years, he had 283 wins with two state titles and was honored as the NFL High School Coach of the Year in 2005. He also played a lead role getting the town back on its feet after a tornado devastated the town in 2008.

"My dad was an extreme optimist, so just the optimism of we're going to rebuild, it's going to be okay. We can do this. Parkersburg will be better and I think that got contagious and everybody truly believe it and got on board," Thomas said.

A year after the tornado, Coach Thomas was murdered by a former football player, but his son and the rest of their family expressed forgiveness the day of the tragedy. Forgiveness and positivity are just two values he hopes people take away from hearing his story.

"It was definitely sad. You felt bad for him, but he never wants you to feel bad for him. His story and is just so great uplifting, and you just learn so much about yourself, and what kind of person you should be," Aaron Boisen, Washington High School Senior said.

Since 2010, Thomas has spoken to thousands of people nationwide. He says he feels privileged to share his father's message and he hopes he make a positive difference in people's lives.

"If I can come here and even have an impact on one student who may be going through some tough things in their life, and something I might say clicks, or they realize bad things are going to happen, but I can get through it. I can be stronger because of it. To me, it's well worth my time and effort," Thomas said.

"It definitely makes me want to be a better person," Danielle Roethler, Washington High School Senior said.

"You don't know when today is your last day, just live life to the fullest," Luke Zeimen, Washington High School Senior said.

And living life to the fullest is a message we can all live by.
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