Deputy Hollis immortalized with memorial and street name change

It was on Fritz Hughes Park Road near Mansfield Dam that Travis County Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis was killed protecting those that live on that road last September when her unit was swept away in floodwaters. Now that road bears her name: Jessica Hollis Parkway

After the National Anthem, Deputy Kimberley Orts picked up a guitar for an emotional rendition of "Texas Lawman" bringing tears to Hollis's family, friends and fellow officers.

"Of course all the officers that came out and honored her and all the people here it's just...heart warming," said Jessica's dad, Bill Wright.

After the monument was revealed, Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton, who hadn't seen it before the unveiling, says he wasn't prepared for how tough it would be.

"It just brought it that much more home that this is the final step as far as recognizing and honoring Jessica in a physical way. And the monument is beautiful," Hamilton said.

The monument itself is a labor of love. The Sheriff's Office helped raise the funds for it. But it was Tom Sapio's idea. Sapio has lived in the neighborhood for 45 years.

"I've been over this bridge thousands of times," Sapio said.

Sapio was moved by Jessica's sacrifice and knew something more than flowers was needed.

"It wasn't good enough. So I just thought we needed a permanent monument for somebody who serves us," Sapio said.

Sapio says he plans to take his grand kids there to teach them about law enforcement.

"They come out here everyday and they put their life on the line like a soldier. That's why it's important," Sapio said.

Sheriff Hamilton told the crowd we're living in a time when law enforcement is being attacked from every angle but heroes like Jessica need to be recognized...and remembered.

"We need to recognize that there are officers out there that are doing wrong...and those individuals need to be addressed. But there are so many officers out there that are doing the right thing, that want to help people and I'd like to see more of that," Hamilton said.

The tributes to Jessica Hollis are not over. Next Thursday, her name along with Jaime Padron and other local officers killed in the line of duty will be added to the Veterans and Peace Officers Memorial in front of the Travis County Jail.

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