Stabbing victim was a hero ‘way before sacrifice on MAX’

"He just wanted to help whoever was in need," Ricky Best's son said

Ricky Best, 53, was killed after defending 2 girls who were subjected to a racist rant on a MAX train, Friday, May 26, 2017. (CBS News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The son of Army veteran Ricky Best, one of the men killed in a stabbing on a MAX train Friday, told CBS News his father always made sure his children felt loved.

Eric Best told CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal his father was a loving, caring man, and someone who was regarded as a hero long before he passed away.

Ricky Best served in Iraq and Afghanistan. His son said he spent time helping build infrastructure for villages in the war-torn area. Most recently, he worked for the Bureau of Development Services for the City of Portland.

Eric Best said his father, Ricky, was a hero long before he sacrificed his life to protect 2 women on a MAX train, May 29, 2017. (CBS News)

“I’m a military brat and accepting death is part of life,” Eric Best said. “Except for… he did his time, 23 years of honorable service. And he came home.”

Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, died while defending 2 women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, on a MAX train. Another victim, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, survived the stabbing and was released from the hospital on Monday.

Eric Best said he wasn’t surprised to learn his father stood up for the women, even though he had never met them before.

“It didn’t matter about race, ethnicity, religion, he just wanted to help whoever was in need,” Eric Best said. “He was a hero way before his sacrifice on the MAX.”

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In the wake of the tragedy, Eric Best remembers his father as someone who was always willing to lend a hand, someone who was always there for wife his 4 children.

“At least once a week he would always make sure that he would talk to every one of his kids about how life’s going… what can I do to help, what problem needs solving,” Eric Best said. “He made sure that we were loved.”

Ricky Best, 53, was killed after defending 2 girls who were subjected to a racist rant on a MAX train, Friday, May 26, 2017. (CBS News)