The holidays are going to be a little different this year for the family of Trooper Thomas Nipper, who was killed during a traffic stop in Temple last month.
"My heart just kind of knew he was gone," Tammy Nipper said. "His family meant everything to him."
"I mean, we don't know life without him," Nipper's daughter Amy Nipper Schmoyer said.
So they now spend time reflecting on the life they knew with him.
"I was a dispatcher with the city police department in Gatesville and he was a deputy for Coryell County and we had a friend introduce us," Tammy said.
That introduction 39 years ago began the story of the Nipper family which was complete with Tom, his wife Tammy and his three children Amy, Lori and Michael who followed in his father's footsteps by becoming a police officer.
"I mean he has always been my hero and I always wanted to be just like him, I try to be half the police officer he was and I'll be in good standing," Michael Nipper said.
And while many know the trooper he was, his family said there was more to the man behind the badge.
"He always played pranks on us, like he would always when he first pulled into the driveway he would always wait until we weren't paying attention or we would get really close to the car and he would turn his sirens on real quick and scare us," Nipper's daughter, Lori said.
"Growing up we wrestled, there are still cracks in the door there where I got tossed around a few times," Michael added.
The Nipper family said that while sharing stories helps, they miss their trooper now more than ever.
"Especially during the holidays because we were real holiday people, so that's hard," Tammy said.
But, thanks to a tree farm that names Christmas trees after fallen soldiers and law enforcement officers, the Nipper family found a way for Tom to be there on Christmas day,
"It was called Thomas Nipper, the Trooper Thomas Nipper tree so we got it and brought it home," Tammy said.
Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.