MILWAUKIE, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of people came to pay their final respects to Ricky Best, who died in a brutal attack on a MAX train while he and 2 others came to the defense of teenage girls being harassed by a racist tirade.
Best, 53, died along with Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche. Another man, Micah Fletcher, was seriously wounded in the attack, allegedly carried out by Jeremy Christian.
Best and Meche, 23, were honored at an interfaith service hosted by the Muslim Educational Trust on Sunday night.
Best, whose wife is Vietnamese, was a 23-year Army veteran who was working for the City of Portland at the time he was killed. Many leaders, including Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Sen. Jeff Merkley, were among those attending the service at Christ the King Catholic Church in Milwaukie.
Best, Meche and Fletcher were standing up to Christian’s rant about Muslims at the time of the attack. Members of the Muslim community were also at the funeral to show their respect and honor.
His family opted for a funeral without cameras inside the church. But his son provided a brief, eloquent eulogy. He also read a letter from his grandfather, who does not speak English, who called Rick Best a pillar.
In one of the most powerful moments and marks of multiculturalism at the service, a member of the Islamic faith read an Islamic prayer.
After the service, family friend Stacey Pinder told KOIN 6 News the service captured the spirit of Ricky’s kindness.
“In everything that happened in the ceremony, the overwhelming thought was ‘love’. Just go out and love, love one another. There’s no anger, there’s no bitterness here, there’s just love,” Pinder said.
After the service, a funeral procession took place from Christ the King Church to Willamette National Cemetery where Best was laid to rest. He leaves behind a wife and 4 children.
The funeral procession
The route from the church to the cemetery is about 4 miles, and many people took the time to stop and pay their respects as the procession passed.
As the funeral procession moved across I-205, Clackamas County Fire District 1 stood at full salute.
There were people like Eileen Fromer and her dog, Zoe. Chelsea Stannard was crying, moms and flag-waving kids and a high school chaplain representing his school were among the hundreds who paused to honor Best.
They all said they experienced different levels of grief but were moved about how he gave his life to help 2 teenagers.
“I was in absolute tears. Everytime I think about it when I thought about coming today I was in tears,” Fromer said. “It’s just so sad.”
Stannard noted Best “was there to help somebody and I just think we need to be out here to show our support. … I wish it would have never happened.”
Everyone who spoke with KOIN 6 News didn’t know Ricky Best. But everyone said it was the least we as a community can do to say thank you.