BOSTON (CBS) – A sea of 37,000 American flags was planted on Boston Common Wednesday, an annual tradition that commemorates Massachusetts fallen heroes ahead of Memorial Day. For the first time, one of those fallen heroes was honored through a new award Wednesday evening.

The award is named after Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond. The Dorchester father was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in November 2018.

Emond, in a sad irony, was the co-founder of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, an organization that helps families memorialize soldiers.

Sgt. 1st Class Eric M. Emond (Image from Department of Defense)

“Eric had a vision of creating an organization to support those people whom he felt should never be forgotten,” his wife Allie said through tears, at the award ceremony Wednesday night. “Their sacrifice never overlooked, and now in a horribly ironic way, the organization he helped create is supporting his family.”

During the award presentation, Allie reflected on her husband’s dedication to service, and his love for their three daughters.

“He felt a duty to raise our girls not only to become good people who do good things, but to always reassure the love he had for them. So often saying the words, ‘you know that I love you, right?’”

Allie Emond speaks about her husband, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond, at a ceremony to present an award in his memory. (WBZ-TV)

Now Sgt. Emond will be forever memorialized with the award in his name. This year it was presented to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, for all he has done for fallen heroes.

Allie said she hopes her husband’s legacy will inspire others to, “be a little better, a little more humble, a little more generous, a little more selfless.”

Earlier in the day, the Herb Chambers companies donated a new car to the Emond family. Before Eric’s death, he and Allie had planned to trade in their car, for the same model she received Wednesday.