TUCSON, AZ — Family and friends gathered Saturday in Tucson to honor the life of a military contractor from Gilbert killed in a terror attack in Kenya. The memorial service for Dustin Harrison was at St. Augustine Cathedral Church.
Harrison, 47, was a pilot working as a contractor for the Department of Defense. He was conducting Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) operations.
Several people spoke at Harrison’s intimate memorial service, including childhood friends, family members and fellow pilots who’d worked with him.
His wife Hope Harrison thanked everyone for their support. Hope says Harrison was her soulmate and their 2-year-old daughter Heaven was his everything.
“He was my rock. He was my mate. He was my best friend," said Harrison. "I feel in a way that she’s been cheated. That we’ve been cheated. But at the same sense when you love, there are going to be scars.”
Many of his pilot friends spoke about Harrison's commitment to his job. They said he was a patriot. “He was serving his country. He was doing something that he obviously cared about and was excited to be doing," said pilot Robert Hill.
“Dustin stood out as a pilot. He was a pilot’s pilot. In a group of aviators that are some of the best in the world," said Brian Gluck, who spent hundreds of hours flying with Harrison in a 10-year span.
Many also spoke about how they cherished his friendship. “I am a far better man for knowing him. Dustin Harrison made a difference in this world," said pilot Pete Martin.
Harrison grew up in Washington. His family and childhood friends flew to Tucson for the memorial to share some of their memories.
“I got the good fortune of knowing him for 33 years," said his friend Christopher Frank.
His older brother Tory Harrison said he was amazed and surprised to hear the stories from his pilot friends.
“To hear and see some of the stories that people are telling me, it’s taking me aback. That part I didn’t get to know about my brother, and that’s the thing that is really hard, we can’t share that you know? But I’m the proud big brother," he saHope says Harrison was her soulmate and their 2-year-old daughter Heaven was his everything.