Gold Star organization gets anonymous donation to help co-founder's widow pay off mortgage

/ CBS News

Anonymous donor helps Gold Star family

An anonymous donation to Massachusetts Fallen Heroes, an organization co-founded by the late Sgt. 1st Class Eric Emond, has helped his widow pay off their mortgage. Eric Emond was killed in Afghanistan in November during his seventh combat tour.

Allie Emond told "CBS Evening News" anchor Jeff Glor earlier this week how important it was to her and their three young children to stay in Raleigh, North Carolina, after her husband's death.

"I don't know what I'd do without my friends," Allie said. "I think it's a different kinda friendship when you live in a place like this where no one has their — their blood family. 'Cause you really lean on each other– in really hard times. And they– my friends have– I wouldn't be able to get through this without them."

In 2009, Eric suffered a traumatic brain injury after an RPG attack in Afghanistan. While he was recovering, he and others, including his friend Dan Magoon, started an organization called Massachusetts Fallen Heroes to help Gold Star families.

"Every choice he made was for other people": Gold Star widow speaks about his legacy

"I know that with what Eric helped start, he would want Mass Fallen Heroes to take care of us," Allie Emond said. "I trust that they have our best interest at heart and want to take care of us and to honor Eric."

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes works with veterans' families to fill in any holes they have — whether it be financial help or legal services or medical supports. "They help in way they can," Glor told CBSN.

"It angered Eric that those families were forgotten about, when all the pomp and circumstance dies down, and the flag is presented, and families go on. And then, a year passes, and it's onto the next story, it's on to the next issue," Magoon said.

For the next eight years, Eric Emond devoted so much of his life to his country and Gold Star families. His death leaves behind a new one. But Magoon said his friend never considered his family might become a Gold Star family.

"I never thought it. It was something that I think we took for granted," Magoon said.

Massachusetts Fallen Heroes has supported Allie Emond and the girls every step of the way. In May, Eric's name will appear on the country's first memorial for U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, located in his home state, in downtown Boston. Eric helped build

"Every choice he made was for other people, was for the betterment of others, whether it be his family, or his country," Allie said. "I was able to meet Marines that he served with. And they would say to me, 'He made me the person I am.' And all I could say back was, 'Me too.' He was an incredible person. He couldn't have been a better man. And I guess I just want people to know that."

Find out more about Massachusetts Fallen Heroes and their work with Gold Star families.

First published on February 16, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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