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Grief Counselors Help Parkersburg Cope

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PARKERSBURG The murder of Coach Thomas has shocked and saddened the community.

Thursday, grief counselors met with adults, teens and children in Parkersburg today to help them through this difficult time.

All kinds of emotions are swirling around the town of Parkersburg.

"People feel anger, despair, hurt, guilt," grief counselor Ken Zimmerman said.

The reality that Coach Ed Thomas will never set foot on his field again has started to sink in.

"He came to my office every morning and said, 'Hello.' And, I kept waiting for him to walk through the door this morning. That didn't happen of course. So, personally, I'll miss that," high school principal Dave Meyer said.

Grief counselors met with students, faculty and community members to help them talk through the tragedy.

"It's an unusual situation. We're trying very hard to get people through this and we'll do the best we can," grief counselor Stan Hanus said.

Counselors say this murder has been tough on the community because the coach was so well known.

"It's also challenged some of our fundamental beliefs that life should be fair, things like this shouldn't happen in schools and things like this shouldn't happen to nice people," Zimmerman said.

After the tornado tore through this town last year, Coach Ed Thomas helped many people move forward. Those who knew him best say he would want everyone to stay strong now, too.

E-mail Mark Geary at or follow him on Twitter.

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