TEWKSBURY (CBS) — Tewksbury and Auburn high schools usually don’t play each other, but Thursday’s basketball game was not about the competition.
“Bring the towns together in honor of Ron,” said Tewksbury Police Officer Rob Bjorkgren.
Officer Ronald Tarentino was gunned down during a traffic stop in Auburn in May of 2016.
With the extended Tarentino family in the stands, two towns played basketball in the spirit of a hero.
“You know there are times that they are hurting and we just want to show how much their son meant to the community,” said Bjorkgen.
Bjorkgren thought up the idea of this basketball game to honor slain Auburn Officer Ron Tarentino.
Before becoming brothers in blue, they were teammates on Tewksbury High’s basketball team.
“He’d love it, he’d want to go out and play with them,” Bjorkgren said.
In tribute, his police family brought the honor guard and sang the star-spangled banner.
“As much as it hurts, it helps just to know everyone is here for him,” said Sharon Tarentino, Ron’s mother.
Tarentino’s jersey number, 32, was given to his wife and parents. All the players also donned his number.
“It’s extra special to us and for our boys to see the extension of their father’s legacy is really cool and we feel grateful,” said his wife, Tricia Tarentino.
Tewksbury High basketball player Joe Rosberg said, “It’s such an honor to give back to the people who sacrifice every day to protect us.”
In addition to starting this annual basketball game, the town has also raised $5,500 toward a monument and plaque in honor of Officer Tarentino.