SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFTA) — A former Springdale High School student was killed while serving in Afghanistan Tuesday, and community members are now speaking out about his heroism.
Friends describe Army Sgt. 1st class Eric Emond as light-hearted and passionate about his career in both the marine corps and military.
He was one of three men who were killed by a blast from an IED in Afghanistan, while he was on his seventh overseas tour.
When Emond was a senior at Springdale High School, Sgt. Major Lance Nutt recruited him to the marine corps.
“He always kind of stood out,” Nutt said.
After finishing his time in the corps, he kept looking for the next challenge. For him, it was special forces.
“There’s a special breed, especially men that go into the special operations field, and when you talk about special forces, you’re talking about the best of the best. That says a lot about Eric Emond,” Nutt said.
“He was smart, tough. Looking after veterans and looking after gold star family members became something that he pursued vigorously,” Greg Kelly, a friend, said.
Emond’s friends say his passion to serve his country was unwavering, even when he was severely wounded by an IED in 2009 on another tour in Afghanistan.
“Everyone was shocked when he overcame his injuries and was able to go back and continue serving.”
Emond would go on to co-found mass fallen heroes, which provides support for gold star family members and veterans.
“When he’s taking his free time as a service member to use his free time to continue helping others, that continues to speak about the passion he had for his love of the military and the men and women that serviced so bravely,” Nutt said.
Between the marines and army, Emond served his country for 21 years.
Emond leaves behind three little girls and his wife.
His funeral will be held in Arlington, Virginia.