By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Pinon Hills) – Ask anyone who knows Aaron Shinedling how he’s best known to them and you’ll hear “Coach” or “Teacher” or “Friend”. Aaron and his family suffered a terrible tragedy just eleven months ago when their// /home burned down//// and Aaron’s wife Amy,mother of his three girls, died in the fire. Yet he keeps giving to his students, to his soccer team, to his community, and most importantly to his three girls.
“The girls come first, everything else comes after,” Shinedling said. “It’s been challenge after a challenge.They miss their mother, but we are getting through it. I try to keep things as normal as possible and keep the girls pretty busy. ”
The Shinedling family has moved into a temporary home for now and they have started to put their lives back together. The older girls, Addison (12) and Alexia (9) are just finishing school and Aaron has a lot of plans for them this summer. “We are going to San Juan at the end of the month for a soccer tournament. In July we are taking Addison to Las Vegas for her birthday. Then the last couple of weeks of July the girls go to camp. And we’ll spend a lot of time up at the country club in Wrightwood.”
The Shinedlings now have a full-time nanny, Kimberly, living with them to help with the girls. “One good thing about Aaron that I know the girls like is that he is a good father, but he’s also a kid. He’s their father but he’s also their playmate,” she said.
Addison, Shindeling’s oldest daughter, and Alexia, or Lexi, his middle daughter, described what they like best about their dad, “He’s a good soccer coach and he’s a good cook. We like his stuffed bell peppers and his meatloaf.”
The girls continued, “He’s been supporting us, he’sbeen there to talk to us and we talk to him more now.”
Just this past week Shinedling was hosting two college soccer players, John from Dublin, and Luca from Liverpool, who were in town for a soccer camp. “They are a great group of guys. I invited them to come hang out with us at practice. They offered to help, so I had them help the players with striking, a form of kicking. It was great, they were showing them what to do and I would step in and give my two cents. The guys are really enjoying being here, I think I have two new sons now,” Shindeling said.
“I’m not just these kids’ dad; I’m the soccer dad, and at the high school too. Everyone’s dad.”
Even in his classroom where Aaron works with some troubled kids, he has gained their respect and admiration. “We have circle time, we talk and I give them advice. I try to help them with the things they are going through, try to build that trust.”
The Shinedling family continues to struggle with the loss of their mother Amy. “I would say that life will never be the same again as my daughters and I have had to make a lot of changes. I would say that we are definitely closer and more open with each other. I have built my life around the girls as they are the only people that I live for. I know that if I would have lost them that night, then I would not be here either,” Aaron said.
He concluded, “We continue to be blessed by everyday actions and continue to pay it forward to others that are in need. My family would like to thank everyone that has helped in any way possible. I know that this is not the end but just the beginning of a new journey for my family and friends.”
High Desert Daily Congratulates Shindeling on his true labor of love.