Derrick Nelson High School. It has a ring to it, doesn't it?

I hope it happens. Derrick Nelson was 44 years old and the principal of Westfield High School. He died Sunday because of wanting to help a child. You see, a 14 year old boy in France needed a bone marrow transplant and Nelson was a match. He had every reason to say no. He suffered from sleep apnea and doctors were worried about anesthesia. They could have extracted the cells intravenously until they learned he was a carrier of sickle cell anemia. Instead of calling the whole thing off, Derrick Nelson donated his bone marrow under only a local anesthetic. He went into cardiac arrest and slipped into a coma which lasted a month. Sunday, he died.

He began his career in education 17 years ago in the Plainfield district. He joined the Westfield district in 2010 as an assistant principal at their intermediate school then went on to serve at Westfield High School in the same capacity in 2012. He became acting principal in August of 2016 and by February of 2017 had the job permanently. He was highly regarded and loved by students, who started a petition after his death to have their school renamed in his honor. If you'd like to add your signature to the many thousands who have already signed it, you'll find the petition here.

It's a wonderful idea and the sooner it happens the better. He wasn't just a hero to his district and his students. He served 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserve including an assignment in the Middle East, so he's a hero to America. The school is not named after anyone else at present, so all the district needs to do is be willing to give up the pride of the town name Westfield. Considering all that Derrick Nelson gave up for others, it should be a no-brainer.

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