January 11, 2020 was a difficult day for the community. This year the families of the victims of the deadly I-27 wreck are asking for a simple favor to commemorate that day.
In the last year, the late Lt. Eric Hill’s parents have found the light in the darkness, by remembering their son for all the things he loved: being a firefighter, cowboy and a dad.
In honor of the one-year anniversary of his death, they are asking the community to do the same by turning on their porch lights Sunday evening.
“People just move on, and we just don’t want them to ever forget,” Mark Hill said
The Hills spend a lot of their free time at their son’s memorial, and it’s not just the impending anniversary that brings back painful memories.
“The cold weather will always bring that on. Of course, every day we have memories and triggers and things like that that bring things up,” Susan Hill said. “You see a fireman somewhere, I think it’s, it’s Eric.”
The anniversary will also be a difficult one for LFR. The crew set to work on Monday, are the same team members that were working on that fateful day.
“There’s too many triggers, too many reminders. Their minds are going to be heavy that day,” Chief Shaun Fogerson said.
The Hills have found purpose in advocating through their 5-5-5 foundation.
They have continued to share their story, hoping that no other family will experience the same heartbreak.
“That way it’s personal to you. To slow down and move over. It’s not about a law, it’s not about ‘oh I’ve got to slow down because I’m supposed to.’ It’s because, ‘that’s a family, I know them, I know their names, I want to slow down to keep them safe,’” Mark Hill explained.
LFR has also made several changes since last year to increase safety measures. When responding to emergencies on the roads they use added roadblocks and more protective helmets.
Chief Fogerson hopes their efforts will eventually be used to save other first responders around the country.