TAUNTON (CBS) — This Thanksgiving tradition at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School is bittersweet. As Taunton mourns the loss of Chris DeForitis — a husband, dad, and veteran police officer — the community honored him at Wednesday night’s football game.

DeForitis died suddenly in September.

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Kourtny DeForitis, Chris’ daughter said, “We’ll still get by but we are missing a special seat at our table this year.”

Chris’ wife Paula added, “He had a huge heart. He loved everybody. Everybody had a very unique relationship with him. Even the people he arrested would respect him. He treated everyone very fairly. He was a good guy.”

Paula DeForitis (WBZ-TV)

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Money raised during the game will benefit Chris’ four children and the school retired the number he wore while playing football there.

“He was just always there for everyone. He gave a lot to the community. It’s just good everyone is here for him,” Brandon said about his dad.

The DeForitis family with Chris’ retired number (WBZ-TV)

The family smiles thinking just how much fun Chris would have loved to be at the game.

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Kourtny said, “If he could be here to see this. He liked to be the center of attention. He was a big loving soul. This would be right up his alley.”