The homeless man who turned over a money-filled bag to police saw the more than $40,000 inside, but said he would never consider taking a penny.
"Even if I were desperate for money, I would not have kept even a penny of the money I found," said Glen James in a statement.
James, a 54-year-old man who has been homeless for eight years, was awarded a special citation by Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis on Monday because he flagged down officers on Saturday and handed them a bag he found that contained more than $40,000 in cash and traveler's checks as well as a passport.
"I just want to thank Mr. James for what he did ... it really is a remarkable tribute to him and his honesty," Davis said.
James wrote down his thoughts about finding the bag to avoid taking questions from reporters because he suffers from a stutter.
He said he lost his job as a court clerk in Boston after issues with his boss and has been homeless since then for medial reasons. He said he has siblings and relatives, but that he does not want to be a burden.
James, who told police his address was one of the city's homeless shelters, said he gets help with food and panhandles so he can do laundry and access transportation.
"It's just nice to have some money in one's pocket so that as a homeless man I don't feel absolutely broke all the time," James said in his statement. "I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone - every pedestrian, stranger - who has given me spare change. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
His eyes widened as Davis handed him a plaque. As he walked out of Boston Police headquarters, employees stood and cheered.
Davis said the bag belonged to a young man from China who is here as a tourist or a student. The man called a store at the Dorchester shopping center and the store connected him to police who were able to reunite him with his bag, money and passport.
As James left headquarters, a reporter asked that if he had one wish, what would it be.
"No wars," James replied.
When asked how people could reach him if they wanted to help, James provided a post office box: PO Box 121052 Boston, MA 02112-1052.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike