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'He couldn’t just stand by and do nothing': MAX stabbing hero's son

Rick Best leaves behind a wife, three teenage sons and a 12-year-old daughter.

Ricky Best’s family stood outside his home Sunday evening reflecting on their favorite moments with the war veteran.

No one in his family is surprised to hear what he last Friday night.

To them, he was a hero long before he stepped onto the MAX train and defended two girls who were being harassed by a man named Jeremy Christian. Best and two other men were allegedly stabbed by Christian moments later. Best lost his life in the attack.

READ MORE: MAX stabbing survivor recovering at local hospital, mother meets man who saved his life

“It's hard to put in words, like his last name is kind of ironic because he was the best father,” said Erik Best, Rick’s oldest son.

Erik said his dad was less of a father and more like an older brother.

“He was always cheery. After serving the military, he used to say, ‘Hey I’m not getting shot at, so why shouldn't I smile?'” said Erik.

They called him Ricky -- relentlessly upbeat and loved unconditionally.

Ricky Best served honorably in the Army for 23 years and hasn’t stopped giving since. Once he retired, he started working for the City of Portland Bureau of Development Services.

“He couldn’t just stand by and do nothing,” said Erik. “He died fighting the good fight protecting the innocent. Honestly, that's what he probably wanted.”

Now, Memorial Day comes with an entirely different meaning for the Best family.

“I don't know. I guess it just hurts that much more. Gosh, it’s like I’ve been sucker-punched,” said Erik.

As the new man of the house, Erik said he's taking it one step at a time.

His family is planning the funeral service for Rick. Erik said he's going to keep living by his father’s simple message:

“We're all people. We all bleed red. It doesn't matter what color or religion. It doesn't matter. We're all human beings,” he said. “I miss him. We all miss him. He was a hero.”

Best leaves behind a wife, three teenage sons and a 12-year-old daughter.

Best’s younger sister set up a GoFundMe page to help with his family’s finances.

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