The Shooting at Chardon High: A coach’s courage helps a high school recover

You may not have heard about a school shooting that happened two years ago at Chardon High School in Ohio. Lives were saved when assistant football coach Frank Hall sprang into action. In an interview with 60 Minutes, Hall said he wished that he was seen as a “regular guy” instead of a hero for what he did that day.

The school was put on lockdown after gunshots were heard. It would later be reported that a 17-year-old student equipped with 10 rounds in his gun was aiming to kill. Coach Hall began pursuing the shooter after seeing him fire rounds at a group of students. When the shooter pointed his gun and began firing directly at Hall, he had to duck behind a soda machine for cover. Hall began following the gunman again, only to see him shoot a student in the back, Nick Walczak, who was left paralyzed as a result. Walczak remembers Hall running past him and saying, “Hang tight. I’ll be back.” The coach was able to successfully chase the shooter out of the school and prevent him from loading a second magazine. When Hall later returned to the cafeteria, he discovered that three students had been shot and it didn’t look good. He waited with them for help to arrive and says he did what he could to “comfort them” before they died. Hall shares, “I don’t know why this happened. I only wish I could have done more. I’m not a hero. Just a football coach and a study hall teacher.”

The Sandy Hook Elementary shooting happened just 10 months later, and the painful memories it brought up led Hall to leave Chardon High. He accepted a position at a school in a nearby less affluent community after their team’s football coach quit, hoping to bring his skills to those who needed them most. The final game of the season brought Hall back to the field at Chardon High, and he says of the experience: “I was being thankful. All the blessings that I have, you know healthy boys, a beautiful wife. I was very thankful for my players, for those kids at Chardon, for this community. Thankful.”

Chardon ended up winning the game, but in Hall’s eyes they were all winners: “I’m so proud right now of each and every one of you. Serve your family, take care of your family serve them you understand me.” The members of both teams responded with a resounding, “Yes sir!”

Good for you, Frank Hall, for your tremendous courage, for protecting student’s on that tragic day like they were your own children and for being a positive role model and source of inspiration for us all.

60 Minutes, 2/23/14

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