PARKLAND, Fla. – After long days of teaching geography at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Scott Biegel met with students who looked up to him as a cross country coach. He died heroically after allowing students to seek shelter in his classroom during a school shooting Wednesday.
The runners who miss the 35-year-old Deerfield Beach resident from Long Island are organizing running events in his honor and distributing memorial wristbands.
Alyssa Fletcher, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, is among the organizers of the Run 4 Biegel event Tuesday at Pine Trails Park in Parkland.
"Coach Biegel was that guy who you could turn to for a laugh, who you could turn to for someone to comfort you when you were feeling low," Fletcher said.
Biegel, a University of Miami graduate, was engaged to Gwen Gossler, whom he had met while working as a counselor at Camp Starlight in Pennsylvania.
Nick Boyer, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, said the event in his memory got a lot of support.
"It's people from all over who are coming in, and I even heard that a couple of people were flying in to come run with us and support us," Boyer said.
Boyer and Fletcher said they will miss their coach and will continue to run in his honor. There was another 5K event Tuesday in his honor at Pioneer Middle School in in Cooper City.
Kelsey Friend said she will never forget how Biegel saved her life when Nikolas Cruz shot and killed her favorite teacher and 16 others.
"I will truly, in every moment of my life, miss him," Friend said.
The running event took place near to a memorial where 17 crosses for the victims and one cross for the shooter were set up. Flowers, candles, teddy bears, balloons and other gifts were piling up.