5-5-5 rally building relationships to protect first responders on the road

Remembering Lubbock Fire Rescue lieutenant Eric Hill and Lubbock police officer Nick Reyna
Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 6:43 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2022 at 11:56 AM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - On an icy January morning in 2020, Lubbock Fire Rescue Lieutenant Eric Hill and Lubbock police officer Nick Reyna lost their lives while responding to a crash on the interstate. Lubbock firefighter Matt Dawson was severely injured.

39-year-old Lieutenant/Paramedic Eric Hill, 27-year-old Officer Nicholas Reyna
39-year-old Lieutenant/Paramedic Eric Hill, 27-year-old Officer Nicholas Reyna(Lubbock Police Department)

The Hill family created the 5-5-5 initiative to honor them.

“We kept trying to find ways that we wanted to honor Eric, and the best way that we came up with was to try to keep first responders safe,” Eric’s father and founder of 5-5-5, Mark Hill, said.

At the 5-5-5 rally on Saturday, retired Pennsylvania State Trooper Bob Bemis spoke about the incident that almost killed him.

“I can always find the teachable moments in any incident, and I felt that my incident had many lessons that could be shared - not only with the members of my agency, but also with first responders all over the United States,” Bemis said.

Bemis says first responders put their uniforms on to go serve the public, knowing the risk of what could happen. It’s up to drivers to move over and slow down.

“They don’t necessarily consider that there are people that have to be working out on those highways and people have families and lives that they need to get back to as well,” Bemis said.

That tragedy struck the Hill family in Lubbock.

“It’s not just them standing out there,” Hill said. “There’s a family, there’s aunts, there’s uncles, there’s grandmothers, there’s cousins, there’s all kinds of people out there and their lives just change.”

The Hill family hopes to send a message.

“Our goal is to try to make sure no other family has to go through the things that we’ve gone through,” Hill said.

Bemis says he’s working alongside a Lubbock Fire Rescue member on an idea that sparked from the Lubbock tragedy.

“We are now trying to advocate for helmet usage by all responders, not just fire, but law enforcement, EMS services, towing and recovery, all of the different disciplines that have to be working on the roadway,” Bemis said.

Hill says to remember 5-5-5, consider five options to plan for safety, five actions to keep safe, and contact five loved ones a day.

For more information on the 5-5-5 initiative click here.