By: Sharon Aron Baron
“They would lay down their lives for our kids guaranteed one hundred percent,” said Jon Faber about the Guardian Angels who helped protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas in the aftermath of the school shooting massacre.
Parkland and Coral Springs residents honored the men in “An Evening with the Angels” on Thursday evening. Organized by neighbors Jon Faber and Stephen Feuerman, to not only to honor the Guardian Angels, who put their lives on hold to watch over the school, but help raise money to compensate them for their loss of income during that time.
Cobra, the chapter leader of the Guardian Angels, told the audience that after his son told him about the school shooting, he immediately got dressed in his uniform and headed down to the school. However, he couldn’t get far as it was still an active crime scene, so he stood nearby everyday joined by other members of the chapter.
When school finally resumed again, Faber wasn’t even aware there were Guardian Angels in South Florida until he was walking his kids back to school and noticed these “crazy-looking guys with red berets”. He walked over to them and asked, “You guys are Guardian Angels from New York? I’m from New York.” They began talking, and he got to know them and found out how much they wanted to take care of the kids in the community and help. All with no other agenda.
Feuerman said he felt a sense of comfort with them. “I’m from New York, and in the 70’s, I remember Curtis Sliwa fighting crime in the city. But they’re so far from that.”
Faber realized the Guardian Angels which includes Cobra, Yankee, Romero Black Cat along with the other men, needed a centralized station in front of the school on city property. He approached Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky who put him in touch with the parks department to help expedite the necessary permits. He purchased a tent to protect them from the rain while Feuerman made sure they had a meal train set up so breakfast and lunch were provided for them.
“It’s unbelievable. The love from this community – it is so great,” said Cobra. “It is so great to just come from somewhere to feel so much love. We’ve been to so many cities all over the United States – but the love of this community is outstanding.”
Romero Black Cat was holding back tears and had to briefly stop speaking. He said to the audience: “I’ve always been very involved with Coral Springs and Parkland, but this has taken it to another level. The friendships that I already had have become what I call ‘familyships’ now.”
The men were presented with Certificates of Appreciation from both Faber and Feuerman as well as an Eagle Award from Principal Ty Thompson – a coveted award which is only given to two to four seniors a year out of a class of 800, or to a teacher who retired with at least 15 years or more at the school.
“They were there for all the right reasons and we really, really appreciate it,” said Thompson.
Parkland resident Lisa Schettino came with her daughter who attends Westglades, adjacent to to Marjory Stoneman Douglas. She brought them gift cards from Starbucks along with hugs. “It’s been such a comfort these guys being at the school right now. It has just really given me peace of mind. My daughter told me that today there were four of them [there] today.”
After the speeches and awards, residents donated money to the Angels and gave them hugs, or posed with photos.
Cobra looked around and said “It’s family. It’s like I’m home and this is all my family, relatives, my little nieces and nephews. Just the love from the community feels outstanding.”
He’s not sure if he will go back to his job in security. He’s said he’s not worried about it now. He was more concerned about the community and healing, as there would always be a job.
He said he was hoping they wouldn’t leave the community. “If we get something that keeps us in Parkland for the students that are not going away to camp, or the parents who want to take a break, they can always leave the kids with the Guardian Angels,” said Cobra. He said they have a program called Black Cats Gym in Coral Springs where the kids can train for free and the parents can come for the whole entire year at Real World M.M.A. Training Center at 11322 Wiles Road. Call Black Cat for more information 954-422-3923.
Want to help the Angels? Donate here: GoFund Me Guardian Angels.