WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) released the following statement:

“I will never forget the day I met Coach Aaron Feis. I had recently been discharged from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I was moving to Parkland with my pregnant wife Brianna and young sons Magnum and Maverick. It’s often difficult to pick up or move anything for me, especially when it’s fragile, because I fall down every single day – and at that point I was still learning to live life on two prosthetic limbs.

“When Coach Feis heard that we were moving in just blocks from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he gathered up a group of football and lacrosse players to help us unpack and move in. I’d never met him before, but he volunteered his time to help us anyway, and the kindness he showed to my family will never be forgotten.

“One year ago today, Coach Feis gave his life protecting the people around him at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Unfortunately, I know what it’s like to hold a blood drenched friend as the last gasp of air leaves their body. This is not an experience that Coach Feis, the students and teachers at Parkland, or any other civilian in the United States should ever have to experience.

“While some progress has been made over the past year to increase school security, improve mental health resources and reduce gun violence, I will be the first to say that it has not been enough. We must do more, and we must do it together. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my short time in Congress it’s that if we retreat into our partisan corners and focus on the areas where we disagree instead of those where we agree, we are doing a huge disservice to the American people.

“So, today, as we mourn those lost one year ago in Parkland, we must also remain determined and optimistic that we can still unite under the same mission: that no one will ever be murdered in school again.”