On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Aaron Thomas will present “The Sacred Acre: The Ed Thomas Story” as part of Peru State College’s 2018-2019 Distinguished Speaker Series. The free presentation will be held at 7 p.m. in Peru State’s newly renovated Performing Arts Center (formerly the College Theatre).

AaronwThomas.com writes, “Aaron Thomas’ father Ed was a beloved high school football coach who not only trained generations of players on the importance of hard work, dedication, excellence and commitment but personally put these values into action when he was the community leader who inspired his town to rebuild in the wake of a deadly EF 5 tornado. Not long after the community withstood the disaster of the storm, the small town of Parkersburg, Iowa, endured a far worse tragedy: the fatal shooting of Ed Thomas by a former player with some mental health issues.”

“Rather than shun the family of their father’s murderer and perpetuate the tragedy that Parkersburg faced, Aaron and his family called for understanding and forgiveness-because that’s what Ed Thomas would have wanted them to do.”

AaronwThomas.com continues, “In this incredible story of ordinary people thrust into an extraordinary situation, Aaron Thomas shares his family’s journey of showing uncommon strength during the darkest of times following his father’s murder.”

“Aaron will discuss how to deal with adversity and how to make the most of all opportunities. You will be challenged to look at your life, your family, and your organization to see if you are being a true difference maker.”

Thomas and his family are the recipients of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage presented at the 2010 ESPY Awards, for being the people Ed Thomas would have expected. Thomas also received the Missouri Valley Conference 2010 Most Courageous Award.

Peru State established the Distinguished Speaker Series in 2010 as part of a commitment to student engagement and success. The intent of the Series is to bring diverse, nationally and internationally recognized speakers to southeast Nebraska to enrich the educational experience of students while also providing regional communities more opportunities to engage in interesting and relevant topics.