AUBURN (CBS) – Slain officer Ron Tarentino’s family said the community support has helped them cope with his death, and Thursday night two communities more than delivered.
As Auburn and Leicester high schools’ football squads charged the field, they had a motivation different than in most games. The Tarentino family huddled on the sideline. Trish Tarentino, wife of slain officer Ron Tarentino stood in front.
Auburn officer Tarentino was shot and killed in the line of duty in May. His murderer was killed in a police stand-off. He had also served in Leicester where his family lives.
“The hearts of the people they gave tirelessly of themselves to help us and honor Ron,” his wife Trish said.
The season opener at Auburn High School was renamed the Top Cop Game. Many in the crowd wore shirts honoring Officer Tarentino. Police marched on the field and the State Police had their helicopter fly over.
“There isn’t a person in the crowd who doesn’t want to do something for this family,” said Leicester coach Tim Griffiths.
Trish Tarentino and two of her three sons oversaw the coin toss. Before the field cleared, the announcer said this, “he has come all the way from North Carolina.” Leicester’s honorary captain Ron Tarentino III ran onto the field and surprised his mom. He is currently stationed at Fort Bragg.
“We’re family we all love each other it’s hard for me to be so far away and not be able to be here and support them opportunities, like this are a big deal,” Ron Tarentino III said.
“To have our whole family here I am just so eternally grateful,” Trish said.
A family that now includes the thousands of people of Auburn and Leicester.
“Oh my God, these communities have the biggest hearts of any communities I know,” Trish said.
All proceeds from the game go to the Tarentino family. More than 2,000 tickets were sold before game night.
Auburn beat Leicester 30-23.