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      Book tells life, legacy of Iowa football coach

      Ed Thomas won two state titles as a football coach for Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, Iowa, but his legacy extends past his athletic achievements.

      When a tornado destroyed much of the town in 2008, Thomas rallied his team to fix the football stadium before opening day. His life was cut short in June 2009, when one of his former players shot and killed him in the high school weight room.

      "The Sacred Acre: The Ed Thomas Story" was written by Mark Tabb and published in August. The book details his life and legacy in the town of Parkersburg and beyond. Thomas's wife, Jan, and sons Todd and Aaron, were at O'town books in Ottumwa to sign copies of the book.

      "Mark Tabb did a great job writing a story about Dad's life, for never meeting Dad, it's amazing how well he was able to capture some of Dad's emotions and the kind of emotions of what transpired over that two year period," Todd Thomas said. "Hopefully, it's an inspirational book about a normal guy who was able to influence thousands of people."

      Tabb spoke with each family member to collect memories and stories. He also included them in the writing process, sending chapters as they were written to make sure the final product was as accurate and realistic as possible.

      "I think just for me, a book written about a very common man from Iowa, obviously him being my dad, it's a lot of great accounts and memories for me that I can look back on," Aaron Thomas said. "I'm excited that my kids will be able to read that, as he passed away when they were all pretty young, so what a great way to capture his legacy."

      The Thomas family has held several book signings across Iowa. They are pleased with the book and said they have received many e-mails from people who enjoyed it as well.

      A percentage of every book pre-ordered at O'town was donated to the Thomas family.