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Bristol County family turns Christmas Day tragedy into something positive in honor of their son



A Bristol County family is taking a tragedy and turning it into a positive while honoring their son taken far too soon.

Brett Ploude was a 16-year-old Taunton High School sophomore when he lost his life in 2015. According to Brett’s father Rich, he lost his battle with depression on Christmas Day.

“On Christmas Eve while out running errands with my 13-year-old daughter, I received a frantic call from my 16-year-old daughter (Brett’s twin) that something had happened to Brett. I rushed home to find my wife on the phone with 911 trying to learn how to do CPR over the phone. I began CPR and minutes later the Taunton Police and Fire departments arrived at my home and took over the great efforts to save his life.”

Brett was an active and giving teen. He was an avid fisherman and enjoyed computers. He played youth sports in the Taunton East Little League, Taunton Cubs, and Pop Warner football. He was a long-time participant in Taunton’s Relay for Life, a participant in The One Mission Buzz Off for Kids and participated in the Tanner J. Barbara Memorial Road Race several times. He was even an organ donor.

Despite the grief of losing a son so young, the family came up with an idea last year to honor his memory.

“Last year while on vacation we came up with the idea to do random acts of kindness for other people as a way to remember him and keep him close to our hearts.”

This year, Rich and his family had another idea that is already spreading joy throughout the community while letting others know about Brett.

“This year we sponsored a tree on the Taunton Green in his memory and decorated it with laminated cards encouraging people to do random acts of kindness in memory of Brett this Christmas season.”

The Ploude’s also performed their own random acts of kindness just before Christmas.

“For our random act this year my family decided to honor the Taunton police and fire departments and all of the great things they do for Taunton every day of the year including Christmas Eve when I needed them most one particular year. We delivered pizzas to the police department and each fire station (Friday) to thank them for all of their dedication.”

Before the heavy winds came, there were still cards on the tree. Rich replenishes the tree with cards every few days if needed.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or in emotional distress, reach out for help by calling or texting 988 (Veterans: Press 1, Spanish Line: Press 2). Chat is also available at

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