Parents of fallen Lubbock firefighter find strength, new mission in community support

Parents of fallen Lubbock firefighter find strength, new mission in community support

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Susan and Mark Hill took a difficult step Tuesday morning when they visited the scene of an accident where their son, Lubbock Fire Department Lieutenant Eric Hill, lost his life. They tell KCBD it was important to understand what happened and how they can help prevent something like it from happening again.

“We were taken out there and it was very, very hard,” Susan said. “But, if Mark and I can be the voice of the police department and the fire department, telling people to slow down and move over for first responders.... I don’t want any mom and dad to have to visit the site like we did this morning and if we can do that, that’s what we want to do.”

Susan said they now understand what he was doing, who he was saving and who tried to save his life.

“The police officer explained exactly what was happening and exactly what Eric was doing and all the other firemen that were there,” Mark said. “It helps us see him as a hero, the true hero that he was. Speaking of the other firemen on scene, we don’t want to forget those guys. They saw some horrific things. They worked on Eric. They worked on Officer Reyna. They worked on the lady in the incident. They’re heroes. They jumped up and did their job and did it admirably. They’re all heroes in our mind, but they are struggling and we need to keep them in our prayers."

Mark and Susan sat down with KCBD to express their gratitude to the community, which they feel has provided overwhelming support and honor to Eric and their family.

“It’s been so amazing to see the community and surrounding community just open up to us and to honor Eric in so many ways,” Mark said.

The Hills say the support is what has strengthened them through the tragedy.

“We’ve had thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of prayers and that’s what keeps us walking upright every day,” Mark said. “There are a lot of things that we have been doing, that we have to do and that helps us take steps every day. The other thing is just knowing that the community is behind us.”

Adding to what keeps them going each day, is a new mission to save more lives. It’s a 5-5-5 initiative.

“Whenever a firefighter has fallen, they always ring five bells three times,” Mark said. “We want that to become a slogan. The first five is leave five minutes early or be five minutes late. Just slow down a bit and take your time a little bit more. The second five is drive five miles an hour below the speed limit sometimes. We have to be slower and take our time. The third five is hug five people you care about today.”

Susan said they begin this mission with no anger in their heart for what happened on January 11th.

“I believe in God and I believe prayers will strengthen us,” Susan said. “Our God is our comforter and Eric is in a better place, even though we are going to miss him here. If I was angry in my heart, that’s not going to help me help others and that’s not how Christians deal with death and that’s not who we are.”

Mark and Susan continue to ask for support, not only for them and their family but for those who continue to protect and serve.

“Just keep us in your prayers and, of course, the other families as well, the Reyna and Dawson families," Mark said. “Keep Eric’s girls, their mother and sisters, just all the people involved in this in your prayers. It’s bigger than us. It’s a lot of people. It is the fire department, police department. All of us are hurting. Keep us in your prayers to give us strength, especially the firemen and policemen that need to be doing a job. They need to have their mind exactly on what they are doing and we need to pray for them to keep going every day.”

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