Carrying On The Name

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 2:53pm

Boy changes his name to honor his father, a policeman slain in the line of duty.

Six years after Fort Worth police officer Henry "Hank" Nava was killed in the line of duty, his young son has found a way to honor him forever.

"I just really wanted to carry on the name," he said. "And my dad would have wanted me to."

Justin Henry Nava was just 4 years old when his father was shot on November 29, 2005 while attempting to arrest a wanted ex-convict.

He died two days later.

"I really don't remember a lot about dad," he said.

Now 10 years old, he wanted to legally change his name to Henry Nava III.

His mother said she ignored his request at first.

"It became a weekly question: 'When am I going to be able to do this?'" Teresa Nava-Salazar said. "Then it got to be a daily thing."

She called a lawyer who scheduled an appointment with a judge.

Justin was required to put his request in writing.

"Dear Judge, my name is Justin Henry Nava," he wrote. "I would like to change my name to Henry Nava III. ... My dad died on 12-1-05 in the line of duty. And it would be my honor to have his name. Thank you. Justin Nava."

The judge granted the name change in a hearing last month.

"Now I sort of have two birthdays," Justin said with a smile.

His mother said she "nixed" his father's request to name him Henry Nava III when he was born, and the couple compromised on Justin Henry Nava.

She said she fully supports the new name now.

"You can tell he's really proud to have that name ever since the judge said it was official," Nava-Salazar said. "You can tell it means a lot to him to have his daddy's name."

Asked how he feels, Henry Nava III answered simply, "Good, just good."

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