NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Nearly six months after he was killed in the line of duty, a Nassau County deputy was honored Wednesday, along with his fellow officers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Deputy Eric Oliver was killed Nov. 22 when he was struck by an SUV while chasing an undocumented worker across a highway.
At a memorial service Wednesday morning in Nassau County, his parents were given a special gift.
Oliver was the first officer lost in Nassau County in more than 20 years.
The 32-year-old served two tours in Iraq and was with the Sheriff’s Office for seven years.
He left behind a 6-year-old daughter.
“It's very sad, but (we're) honored at the same time that our son is being so recognized,” Oliver's mother, Sharon Oliver, said. “We thank the community for everything they've done.”
Sharon Oliver said she and Oliver's dad, Douglas, could not have gotten through the last several months without the support of the community.
“I know his friends aren't going to forget him,” Douglas Oliver said. “I know law enforcement isn't going to forget him. He's part of an elite family now of the fallen in the blue. That's a tight family.”
Deputy Oliver's plaque was unveiled Wednesday at the law enforcement memorial wall in Nassau County, where it joined plaques honoring five of his fellow deputies, a chief from the Fernandina Beach Police Department and a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol.
After the ceremony honoring Oliver and the officers who died in the line of duty, Oliver's parents were given teddy bears made from their son's pants.
“(They) even have a stripe,” Sharon Oliver said. “Beautiful little remembrances of him.”
As hard as it is to talk about their son in the past tense, the Olivers said they are comforted knowing the impact their son had on so many people.
“There's been so many stories of things he's done along the way that we weren't even aware of until this happened, so he's very loved,” Sharon Oliver said.
“He'd be overwhelmed about the amount of love and support he's getting,” Douglas Oliver said.
Deputy Oliver's family is heading to Washington, D.C., Thursday for National Police Week, which begins Monday.
News4Jax reporter Scott Johnson will also be in Washington to cover the event, so tune in to watch our coverage and help honor Oliver and other fallen officers.