On Memorial Day, family and friends remembered Rick Best, a 23-year Army veteran and city employee from Portland. Best didn’t die in the line of duty. He was fatally stabbed on a MAX train Friday after standing up against a man spewing hate speech at a Muslim teen and her friend.
His sister, Areana Best, said she first heard the news late Friday night. She was about to go dancing with her friends when she got a phone call from her mother.
“When she told me that it was Ricky, I started bawling and I was like, ‘Why? How? No!’ He has four kids. And when she told me what had happened, or at least the little that we knew, I was shocked,” she said.
But she says coming to a stranger’s defense sounded exactly like something her brother would do.
“I don’t even think he hesitated,” she said. “He was always a hero.”
The 53-year-old Best retired from the Army in 2012 as a platoon sergeant. More recently, he worked for the City of Portland. He lived with his wife and children in Happy Valley. His sister said her brother’s family had plans to visit her in California over the Memorial Day weekend.
“Driving around and seeing all the flags and all of the patriotism in the city, in a way it makes me feel very proud of Ricky. But it’s also a sad association that we’re not here to celebrate all of his victories, we’re here to mourn the fact that one of his own countrymen killed him.”
Best says she’s set up a GoFundMe account in her brother’s name to raise money for his children’s college education.