Erik Hite Family Park opens

Nohemy Hite, wife of fallen Tucson Police Officer Erik Hite
Nohemy Hite, wife of fallen Tucson Police Officer Erik Hite

By J.D. Wallace - bio | email

A celebration for something new in the community on Sunday also honored a lost valued member.

"Bittersweet thing today because we are here at the park and we want to honor his life and the way he was as a Christian man, as a husband, as the father of my children, but I'm working so hard not to remember that day," said Nohemy Hite, wife of fallen Tucson Police Officer Erik Hite.

That day is June First, 2008, when Tucson Police Officer Erik Hite was shot in a cross-town shooting spree.

"My husband died doing what he liked to do--serving, protecting the community," Nohemy Hite said.

The new Erik Hite Family Park at Saguaro Canyon Church gives his wife Nohemy a place to bring their daughter Samantha.

"I talked to him here on the grass and it's just a dream that came true," Nohemy Hite said.

"He touched so many people's lives and they want to honor him for the job that he did and for the sacrifice that he made," said Roy Hite, Erik's father who came from Oregon for the dedication.

"It's dedicated to Erik's life so that the children of Tucson can come here and be free to play," said Rick Stertz, who organized building the park in two months with the help of volunteers.

Many of them were wearing red shirts Sunday, like Andrew Kent.

Erik gave his life for his very important values," Kent said.

"Today's the important day because this was the last full day that Erik was with us," Stertz said.

"I'm trying to do my best today to celebrate his life and not think about what happened a year ago," Nohemy Hite said.

Festivities for all and a park where they can gather can help divert her attention, but Nohemy Hite still struggles with how she no longer has the man that everyone at the park Sunday was honoring.

"It's going to be like that for a long time," she said.