“It’s a joy to see that these people want to come out and do this,” said Feis.
Stephen Diaz, who served in the Marines, is one of dozens training with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are never going to allow something like that to happen again. Not on our watch,” he said.
He says having Aaron Feis’ widow giving this group her blessing means a lot.
“It took a lot of strength, a lot of courage,” he said.
Melissa Feis was joined by her daughter, Arielle and Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was one of the 17 victims.
“It's heartwarming to see someone have to go through that and just to be there and show her we all felt that from here, even just being in Lakeland, just to show our appreciation,” said trainee Yari Dobson.
Melissa says her husband loved the kids at his school and would be thrilled to see this program take shape.
“He would be ecstatic. I have no doubt about it,” she said.
Those who graduate from this program will be eligible to fill the openings at Polk County’s 85 elementary schools beginning this fall.