He earned a Silver Star and a Purple Heart fighting in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he saved the lives of his fellow Army soldiers and marines.
But it was a freak accident in Texas at a wounded veterans parade where Sergeant Major Lawrence Boivin died.
The 24 year veteran from Stratford, New Hampshire sacrificed his own life to save others -- including his wife.
Wednesday evening, dozens gathered at the Stratford Public School to remember the 47-year-old.
"He was very loyal, very devoted, if he was your friend, he was a true friend," said Arlene Tyler-Kelsea, a childhood friend.
The retired Sgt. Maj. died in Texas last week when a freight train struck a parade float carrying Boivin, fellow vets, and their family members.
"I was his sister that he never had, and he was another brother to me," said Tyler-Kelsea.
Tyler-Kelsea says though Boivin left the area to join the military, he and his family left an indelible mark on the community.
"Whenever there was anything that they could do for the community, his mother, father, the whole family was there to do it," explained Wilfred Gaudette, the American Legion Post 47 Commander.
Family friends and members of the local American Legion spoke at the vigil and led a prayer.
"It's a great honor because this way I can remember him and I want to personally thank him just thank him for all he has done for our country," said Gaudette.
Vigil organizer Jenni Hakey says she wants Wednesday's remembrance to be a healing moment for the community and send a heartfelt message to the Boivin family which moved to North Carolina years ago.
"They may be gone, but they're not forgotten, and we appreciate everything that larry has done," said Hakey.
Family friend Bill Simpson agreed, "He was a hero for our country, and his whole family. We ought to be thankful for families like this."
Those who knew him as a young man say they're not surprised that Boivin moved to save others, including his wife, when he recognized the impending danger from the train.
They say he always put others first.
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