LUBBOCK, Texas — Mark and Susan Hill spent some time Friday with KAMC and to say thank you to the Lubbock community.  They are the parents of Eric Hill who gave his life in the line of duty on January 11.

Hill and other firefighters along with Lubbock Police responded to a crash in North Lubbock. While on scene there was another crash.  A pickup truck crossed the median of Interstate 27, rolled, hit Hill, fellow firefighter Matt Dawson, and police officer Eric Reyna.  Hill and Reyna lost their lives.  Dawson survived but barely.  Dawson will have a long road to recovery according to his family.

Eric’s dad, Mark, said on Friday, “Eric was a medic and he helped save people lives and we wanted to continue his tradition of saving lives.”

“We have had thousands of prayers said on our behalf and that’s what helps us take the steps each day to do those things,” Mark said.

“It means a lot,” Eric’s mom, Susan, said. “We knew Lubbock was a great place. We knew the firefighter family was great, but we had no idea the love we have been shown through this and the stories that we have heard about Eric from different people.”

“We did not get to hug Eric that night,” Mark said. “He was on overtime. It wasn’t his regular shift to work.”

“We didn’t see him so we didn’t get to hug him,” Mark said.  “We want people to know to hug people they love everyday because you just never know.”

Those hugs are part of the legacy of Eric Hill. Here’s how.

The Hill family promotes 5-5-5.  Leave five minutes early. Drive five miles an hour under the speed limit.  And hug five people you love every day.

“We’ve had so many people reach out and say, ‘I remembered that today — 5,5,5,’” Susan said.

The Hills think it has already had an impact even though it was only recently promoted in Lubbock.  

“We saw in some snow days lately that the wrecks have decreased from what they were in the past and we really believe 5,5,5 had something to do with that,” Mark said.

Mark makes reference to snow that fell in Lubbock and the South Plains on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Police said in within the city limits there were seven crashes Tuesday with only one crash resulting in injuries.  On Wednesday, it was 17 crashes with only four resulting in injuries.

“Thank you,” Mark said to the people of Lubbock.  “Eric has been honored through the community.”  

“As we did the funeral procession and saw kids 5, 6, and 7 years old out on the street with their hands over their hearts, we know Eric would have loved that,” Mark said.

“It has been amazing to us the outpouring of love to our family from this community,” Mark said.

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“Be safe, love each other hug each other, and don’t take anything for granted,” Susan said.

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