LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The funeral for Firefighter Lt. Eric Hill was held at RIP Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University Friday morning, followed by his burial at Resthaven Cemetery.
President of the local chapter of the International Association of Firefighters, Chris Kemp, says representatives from more than 100 fire departments were in attendance.
IAFF Vice President Sandy McGhee called Eric a firefighter’s firefighter.
Pastor Michael Nelson started the service by saying, “Today we won’t find answers, but we will find love.”
Pastor Nelson then addressed Hill’s twin girls saying, “You matter, you matter oh so much. As Kynlee and Kylee grow in your kingdom as warrior princesses, we’ll watch them grow.”
Friends and family shared their love with words and stories of his life.
Friends say he wanted to be the best he could be at everything he did. They say he was a hero - not because of his rank as a firefighter, or because he was a first responder, but because of his character.
His cowboy brother Blane Chapman said, “Eric embodied the ‘cowboy way’ in every way.”
Outside the fire department, he was rarely seen in anything else but jeans, boots and a cowboy hat. Chapman said he was the epitome of selflessness and willingness to learn.
“Just took one time and you remembered eric hill when he shook your hand. A hand full of honestly is what you got,” Chapman said. “Eric was a hero not for his firefighting skills or his rank, but for his integrity, character, assertiveness, and relentless pursuit to hold himself to a higher standard.”
Friend Seth Boyd said Eric was never above anything he was asked to do.
Eric’s hoseman, Ricky Murphy, gave an example. He said Eric was thrown into the Lieutenant spot when Lt. Kitten passed away suddenly last year. Eric told his fellow firefighters he couldn’t fill his shoes, but he would do everything he could to learn.
“He lived life with the motto, no fear,” Boyd said. “Eric was the type of person that I would follow anywhere.”
Eric and his fiancé found a house the day before he was killed. They were set to get married after Taylor graduated from nursing school in February.
A letter written by Eric’s mother Susan was read aloud. She said while they don’t understand why this happened, they do not hold any contempt or hatred in their hearts. They say God has bigger plans for their son. They will keep his memory alive for his little girls, and one day they will know how much Eric loved them.
The letter said since the accident on Saturday, “Our son has never been alone.” Addressing fellow first responders, she said, “You have stood guard every moment.”
Eric’s parents, Mark and Susan were presented with the Firefighter’s Medal of Honor during the service by the International Association of Firefighters. The award is made of solid gold and bears the words: Dedication, Honor and Sacrifice.
Lubbock Fire Chief Shaun Fogerson said there are people alive today because of the skills Eric had as a paramedic.
Hoseman Ricky Murphy said there’s a saying when you lose a brother: “Rest easy brother, we have it from here. We all have it from here.”
Firefighter David Eric Hill, 39, and 27-year-old Police Officer Nicholas Reyna both died while responding to a crash Saturday morning, Jan. 11, 2020.
A third responder, 30-year-old Firefighter and Paramedic Matt Dawson, is at University Medical Center in critical, but stable condition.
GoFundMe pages have been set up to help the families of all three first responders.
Hill’s obituary reads:
David Eric Hill, 39, of Lubbock, passed away in the line of duty on Saturday, January 11, 2020. Eric was born to Mark and Susan (Wright) Hill on July 15, 1980 in Levelland, Texas. Eric graduated from Lovington High School in 1998 and went on to attend South Plains College. He graduated from Texas Tech University with his Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science.
He served the Midland Fire Department from 2007 to 2010. From 2010 until present he served as a firefighter and paramedic with the Lubbock Fire Department eventually earning the rank of Lieutenant. Eric was a member of the International Association of Firefighters as well as the World Series Roping Association.
He had the soul of a cowboy. He was fearless and strong and aspired to own a ranch and leave his legacy to his girls.
He leaves behind two precious daughters, Kynlee Blaze Hill and Kylee Bryce Hill; parents, Mark and Susan Hill, of Lubbock; fiance Taylor Locascio, of Lubbock; sister, Randi Norris and husband Zach and their children Tyson and James of Idalou; grandmothers, Nelda Hill of Colorado City and Barbara Thompson of Lubbock; several aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as the Fire Fighter brotherhood.
Eric is preceded in death by his grandfathers, Dave Wright, Robert Hill and Elbert Bills.
The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Lubbock Children’s Home, IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial, Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Center, or Gypsy Heart Horse Rescue.