Todd Thomas (Victims Son):
“When faced with adversity or faced with anything throughout our lives, we have the power to choose which road we are going to take. And as we make these choices, we need to be prepared for the consequences that may follow. Dad has been preaching this message for as long as I can remember, and I know that you, mark have learned this lesson.”
This quote stood out to me because it sums up the fate of Mark Becker, the feeling of loss for the friends and family of Ed Thomas, and the animosity that Todd Thomas holds toward Becker all in one statement. The ever-caring Ed Thomas clearly instilled values in his son that he held on to into adulthood. As a Christian man, Todd does the right thing not in wishing bad upon Mr. Becker, but instead reminding him that was indeed Becker’s own actions that landed him where he is today. The realization of this by Todd is profound to me because he at the core of it all was able to find peace among the chaotic circumstances surrounding his father’s death in words that his father had said to him when he was young. It is truly touching and saddening.
Greg Thomas (Victims Brother)
“Ed always talked about choices to the young people he impacted on a daily basis. He constantly talked about how it is completely up to each person what they choose to do. Ed was living proof that you can make the right decisions and live your life the way the good Lord wants and expects us to live.”
This quote was particularly touching because of the emotional aspects leading up to and following it, Greg explains how his elder brother of 18 years overcame growing up in an abusive alcoholic household and taught many valuable life lessons. The most valuable of the lessons was that life is what you make it depending on your choices. By doing what you know is right and having faith everything will be okay. This quote was exceptional in that Greg recognized that his brothers purpose on this earth was in fact to encourage, motivate, and inspire. Essentially his position as a high school coach was encoded in him from birth because that was just his character. He was a genuinely good man and his brother will miss that most.
Teresa Morrison (Victims Sister)
“My oldest son had been elected to play in the Shine Bowl Game in 2009. I knew Luke was really hurting that Ed wouldn’t be there to watch him play.”
This quote shows the impact that Thomas had on people of all ages. From his high school alums all the way to young children Thomas had influenced kids of all ages to follow their dreams. To me this quote shows what an extreme loss the Parkersburg community in its entirety was feeling after he was slain. To know that a man who truly had touched so many including our youth who today can be perceived as out of control in some aspects.
Jan Thomas (Victims Wife)
“June 24, 2009 started like any other day. Ed left early that morning to open the weight room, just like he had done thousands of times before. Before my workday even started- I received an ambulance call for a gunshot. Even then I didn’t imagine it was an actual deliberate shooting..”
The sorrowful words of Jan Thomas are enough to bring any red-blooded human to tears. Her recount of the morning leading up to the shooting is rather matter-of-factly stated. She said the words with such ease, comfort, and security. It was clear that these were things she felt being married to Ed. The statement shows again how Ed was a straight shooter and how valued he was in each person’s life he knew. To know that this is the last time she would she her husband is disheartening. It is however somewhat of a comfort to know that her last memory of her late husband is symbolic of all the deeper emotional influence he provided her throughout their marriage. Love, ease, comfort, and security. I pray that she is able to find these things following his death.
Eli Thomas (Victims Daughter-in-Law)
“I tried to remain calm because our three little boys were home and I didn’t want to scare them. That day changed the course of their lives forever. That day I had to tell my three little boys that Mark Becker had shot their grandpa, whom they loved and adored.”
The story of Ed Thomas was often reported as a community loss. He had influenced so many from childhood, and the people of Parkersburg had become accustomed to seeing Thomas under the Friday night lights. However at his core Thomas was a family man. He helped raise his younger siblings, then got married and raised his own children. Now Thomas was influencing his young grandchildren, but unfortunately their lessons got cut short. It was again saddening to imagine a mother telling her children that the man who read them stories, taught them to play catch, and was one of their biggest fans was no longer here to do those activities with them. Unfortunately the lesson that they took from this situation would be that sometimes good people go too soon.
Susan Reynolds (Victims Sister)
“Your greatest punishment will be when you have to stand before the Lord on Judgment Day and give an account for your actions when you killed Ed Thomas. Our Lord is a forgiving Lord and merciful Lord. I only pray that you seek God’s forgiveness and that your soul is not lost Mark.”
It was endearing to see that the Thomas family’s faith was the key thing getting them through the trials and tribulations that came along with the Mark Becker case. Even though Becker mercilessly took Ed’s life, Thomas’ sister still somehow finds strength in her faith in finding peace with the situation and forgiving her brother’s murderer. The references to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ seem to be a common theme throughout the victim impact statements of the Thomas family. It is comforting as an onlooker to know that this family may be able to find a light at the end of the dark tunnel that Becker unfortunately led them in.
Aaron Thomas (Victims Son)
“I vividly remember talking to my dad on the phone as he was disappointed that Mark and one of his classmates would have to sit out as he really believed they had a chance to be very good that fall. T also remember telling my dad he should not let them back on the team as he did not represent AP football or what my dad stood for. I remember my dad defending Mark saying he needs football and that he will come around and that he wouldn’t quit on him.”
This final statement by Ed Thomas’ son is telling of his character. At Ed’s core he was a Christian man. He had faith in everyone and worked to make the world in a better place. The fact that he, outside of work carried the burdened of his students on his shoulders by taking their problems on as his is amazing. Ed was the type of man to not rest until he helped everyone. Sadly that faith in humanity ultimately cost him his life.