CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR)--It was a bittersweet Thanksgiving morning for many members of the Chesterfield Police Department.
About 50 officers participated in the department’s annual turkey bowl football game tradition, but this year it had a more somber meaning.
"He just wanted to be a police officer all his life," said Capt. Russ Lescault of the CPD.
The huddles of law enforcers played competitively, but also with reflective minds. Their friend and colleague Officer Mike Nagosky lost a sudden battle with brain cancer this week.
"If you had a call and you needed an officer to come, he's the one you want to come,” said Officer John Parris of CPD.
Donations collected from participants in the game will go to the wife and two young children Nagosky leaves behind.
"This is going to go toward his family and just things that they need help with," said Officer Greg Hopkins.
The 39-year-old was a career officer with the department and had risen quickly as a respected mentor to many. What started as just a painful headache for Nagosky would be identified as the fatal illness that would take his life in just a few short weeks.
"I think it took everybody by surprise, it happened to quick and that's what got everybody," said Parris.
Nagosky was a role model for many young officers working in the field today. They describe him as the consummate professional, a patient instructor and a kind person.
"It's going to be a huge void, like I said, when you come in to the station he's the first one to pat you on the back," said Hopkins.
Several of those on the field we spoke with say that appropriately on Thanksgiving they find themselves grateful for officers like Nagosky and simply for the chance to spend a sunny Thanksgiving morning on a field with friends.
"It makes you take life more seriously, not ever take it for granted," said Parris.