A former Iowa school teacher is being recognized for "meeting violence with love." That was the reason cited by students at Westside High School in Omaha for honoring Fred Wilson last week. The Monroe, Iowa native, who was critically injured in the December 5th shooting at Westroads Mall in Omaha, received a plaque bearing the name of Martin Luther King Jr.
The students say Wilson’s forgiveness of Von Maur shooter Robert Hawkins during his hospital news conference inspired them. "(I have) No animosity toward Robert Hawkins. And there will be none going forward. Life happens and we just need to be taking better care of one another," Wilson said after a brief ceremony at Westside High School.
Prior to his employment at Von Maur, Wilson taught English, speech and theatre classes at high schools in Clear Lake, Shenandoah and Council Bluffs. Wilson still has a long road to recovery. "That has been placed on my plate and I am going to welcome those weeks, those months, and see if I can make those better," Wilson said.
Wilson’s right arm continues to heal and his days are filled with doctor’s visits and rehabilitation. He was in the hospital for almost a month following the shooting that left nine people dead, including Hawkins, who took his own life.