When Eric Talley was four, his mother watched in horror as he climbed higher and higher up a tree to rescue a kitten.
Her heart pounded as the tree branches snapped beneath him, but, thinking only of the cat, Eric Talley pressed higher, until the cat was nestled safely in his arms.
Eric was also known to stop traffic simply to let a dog cross the street, said his mom, Judy Talley.
So when she heard that her son was the first on-scene the day of a shooting in south Boulder, she was not surprised.
“Eric never met a stranger,” Judy Talley said. “This is not just how Eric died. This is my son. This is how Eric lived his whole life.”
Thursday morning Judy Talley spoke about Eric during a private event held to formally rename Boulder’s 15th Street post office the Officer Eric H. Talley Post Office Building, after her son, who was among the 10 people killed in the shooting at the Table Mesa King Soopers. About 45 people attended the private event.
During the event, Judy thanked the Boulder Police Department and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, for honoring their words when they told her, “Eric Talley will never be forgotten.”
“I felt you were being kind, but I was wrong,” she said.
Judy acknowledged Neguse for his work to introduce the bill to rename the post office in May 2021. The bill was enacted after it was signed by President Joe Biden in March.
“Clearly, you’re a man of integrity, you’re honorable, and you’re a politician but you speak the truth, and it’s a wonderful thing,” she said.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold seconded Judy‘s words on Thursday. She said she could not think of a better way to honor Eric‘s life than to rename the post office in his name.
“I can’t express how much this means personally, to me, Eric’s family, Eric’s police family and the Boulder community,” Herold said. “Eric loved this community, and now his sacrifice will not be forgotten.”
Neguse also spoke on Thursday and thanked Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold and Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty for working with his office on the legislation to rename the post office.
“We will never forget the stories of those that we lost, and we will never forget Officer Talley’s heroic actions that day,” Neguse said.
Eric Talley, 51, left his career in information technology to work in law enforcement. He joined the Boulder Police Department in 2010 while raising and home-schooling seven children with his wife.
“Despite the challenges, despite the sacrifices, he wanted to put his life on the line to protect others,” said Gov. Jared Polis Thursday morning.
That’s Eric‘s legacy, Polis said: To inspire others to do more and be more.
“Officer Talley will now always be part of this community, and the downtown Boulder post office will permanently serve as an everlasting reminder of Officer Talley, his spirit, his sacrifice,” Polis said.
Kirstin Talley also remembered her brother on Thursday.
She was five years old when Eric helped her conquer her fear of the dark, she recalled during the Thursday event.
After he stuck a night light inside her bedroom, he said, “I want you to tell the dark to put out that night light,” Kirstin said.
“He was eight years old, and he knew at that time, that all the darkness in all of this world cannot put out one single light,” she said.
The day that Eric was killed, Kirstin said her soul filled with darkness. But she knew that day, all her brother thought when he ran into King Soopers was “How can I protect the people inside?”
“For all of you who have lost anybody to any kind of darkness in this world, I hope that this is a reminder that all the darkness in all the world cannot put out one small light,” Kirstin said.