VACAVILLE (CBS13) — Mir Khaled Ahmad, a  Vacaville father who gave his life to save his son, has been awarded the Carnegie Medal.

The national award is given to civilians who risk their lives to save others. Ahmad drowned after his son fell into the American River. The memory is painful for his family but the Carnegie award is bringing unexpected peace.

The very last photo Ahmad ever took with his children shows a picturesque scene. A beautiful day on the American River June 2018, living the American dream he wanted for his family.

“To be honest, I still don’t believe he’s gone,” said Samim Ansary, Ahmad’s brother.

When Ahmad’s eldest son slipped into the river, he didn’t hesitate to go after him even though he couldn’t swim. His son lived, but Ahmad was swept away by the current and did not survive. His wife and family who were out with him for a fun family outing, are now alone.

“He was just not my husband. He was my friend, my advisor in everything,” said Khalida Ahmad, Mir’s wife.

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Khalida accepted the Carnegie award on behalf of her husband from the mayor of Vacaville on Tuesday.

“It is a happiness, a very happy day for me and I’m proud,” she said.

Ansary describes the medal as his brother continuing to bring honor to his family.

“I’m proud of him because he was a good person. He was a good citizen. He was a good man to his family and his wife and children,” he said.

Ahmad brought his family to Vacaville from Afghanistan. He managed a 7/11 while going to college in hopes of becoming a doctor in California. He wanted the best for his family and was prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice.

Now his family hopes his actions leave a message with the community

“Humanity. Be human. That’s it, that’s the main thing,” Ansary said.