WILMINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Wilmington town leaders made a grand gesture of gratitude for an officer who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The board of selectmen voted unanimously to declare Jan. 3 Sean Collier Day in honor of the MIT police officer who was killed by the Tsarnaev brothers days after the bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

His shooting started the manhunt that ultimately led to the bombers’ capture.

“It never goes away. Anybody that’s lost a child understands it really never goes away. It’s always there you’re always missing that child,” Collier’s step father Joseph Rogers said.

The board presented Collier’s family with a special citation on Monday.

“Sean was a member of this community,” said Police Chief Joe Desmond. “He sacrificed the greatest sacrifice of all for his community and for the Commonwealth. We think it’s a great idea to remember him every year.”

January 3 was Collier’s birthday. The board said they picked that day because they wanted to remember his life — not just the way he died.

“But, it’s more important to think of what a remarkable life, and every day of his life not just the last day, of his which was filled with energy and compassion,” said State Minority Leader Bruce Tarr. “I believe policing is more than just enforcing laws.”

Collier’s family thanked the town for the honor and for their continued support over the years

The town has done a lot. There’s a park down the road at the town beach, there’s a monument over at the high school and there’s a tree outside of the police station,” Rogers said. “They really kept his memory alive so we really appreciate that.”

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