WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Hundreds of people gathered inside Westfield State University's Parenzo auditorium this morning for a memorial service honoring Westfield Police Officer Jose Torres.
It was a ceremony fit for a man who appreciated and loved his life, especially his family, and wife Kara.
"He was truly my best friend and the love of my life we went together like peanut butter and jelly. He was an amazing father to our two sons, jay and Christopher," Kara Torres said.
Hundreds of people gathered at Westfield State University to pay tribute to 27-year police veteran Jose Torres who died in the line of duty Thursday.
Torres was 53-years-old and, according to his fellow officers, loved protecting his community.
"Even on patrol if he saw traffic backing up he would call dispatch tell them he'd be out at an intersection once again flapping his wings," Alex Baginski said.
That's cop talk for directing traffic.
Torres wasn't just a dedicated police officer; he was also a baseball coach, an avid Boston Red Sox fan, a father, a friend, a husband and the life of the party.
"Making sure everyone had a drink, the music was playing, his hips were shaking and a cooler by his side," Kara Torres said.
Friends and family laughed as Jose Torres's wife and fellow officers shared fond memories of him.
"Let us take comfort in Jose's words. Vamanos muchachos! hasta manana!" Capt. Hipolito Nunez said.
They also wiped away tears, as it became clear a man who put so many smiles on the faces of others was taken from their lives too soon.
This is just a snapshot of who my husband was and I will forever miss him. I carry a very heavy heart and sadness with me today but I know that he is standing right beside me helping me all the way," Kara Torres said.
It wasn't just friends and family who wanted to honor Officer Torres.
People who didn't even know him lined the streets along with police officers from out of town.