SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Puerto Rican Flag raising and an award ceremony a day before Springfield’s Puerto Rican Day Parade set for Saturday.

The first-ever Jafet Robles Advocacy Award was awarded Friday at the 5th annual Jafet Robles Memorial Puerto Rican flag raising ceremony. People Friday night celebrating Robles and the outstanding impact he’s had in the community.

“He’s no longer with us but I know he’s with us in spirit. He’s always been apart of so many people’s story outside of mine,” said Senator Adam Gomez.

Jafet Robles was a community activist, a beloved friend, coach, son, and father who was murdered five years ago on September 11, 2017. Robles worked hard when it came to grassroots efforts and worked along side people like Adam Gomez when it came to making a change for the better of his community.

“Jafet was an interesting character that had a lot of energy and knew that change was going to come. The thing that he cared about was education, his children and his family but also he really loved organizing people together,” said Gomez.

The community of Springfield paying respects to Jafet Robles with this Puerto Rican flag raising. Robles was a game changer and a trailblazer in Springfield inspiring others to enact change and represent their cultural roots.

Jeannette Rivera received the first-ever Jafet Robles Advocacy Award. Rivera received the award for her dedicated work for a better western Massachusetts for all and for the Puerto Rican community through groups like Girls Inc.

“To be honored as someone who carries that torch of making our community better and doing what we can to create peace and joy and abundance in our communities is a blessing,” said Rivera.

The award Friday night was presented by Robles mother, Noemi-Jimenez, who hopes to continue to celebrate her son’s legacy throughout Springfield.