Widow of fallen officer remembers her 'knight in shining armor'

Published: Sunday, Feb. 2 2014 3:45 p.m. MST

Her remembrances Sunday night included jokes and smiles as she sat in a chair surrounded by her sons. But she also confided that the only reason she has a strong façade now is because of the enormous love and support she has received from her family, Cory's police brethren, and the community.

"From the point that it happened (pauses), every turn I've had someone there. From the time I found out, I couldn't breathe. I couldn't breathe and I freaked out and my very best friends that work with me were there and in my face saying, 'C'mon, you gotta breathe, you gotta breathe,' talking me through it. Just everywhere I go, all the beautiful thoughts from everyone, the flowers, the awesome hugs, the flags, everything," Nanette said.

"To be really honest, I'm afraid when this is all over, that in my alone times, I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm frightened because I don't know how to raise my family anymore without him. I don't know how to breathe without him. He was my breath. So I'm afraid, for right now, I'm taking it two minutes at a time. And when I start to freak out I just get help, and that's why I have a lot of people around me."

Preparing to serve

Cory Wride was born in San Juan County. Even though his family moved to American Fork when he was 2, San Juan County remained an outdoor paradise that they still visited often.

From an early age, Wride's parents said their son knew he wanted to be a police officer.

"I actually was not really excited about law enforcement at that time, I guess because a mom knows of the dangers. But it was almost inbred in him, That's what he wanted to do," said Kathy Wride, whose brother was a longtime member of the Spanish Fork Police Department.

Cory Wride's parents said their son had an inner desire to serve people that needed to be fulfilled.

"Cory grew up really kind of shy and a child that was comfortable watching before he joined in. And he has a very, very kind heart and gentle spirit. And I think part of the police department that attracted him was knowing that in that capacity he could reach out to others in kindness and be helpful," his mother said.

"Looking back now, as we've reflected on things, I don't think it was at all about the glory. He didn't need that. I really think it was something probably at that time that even he didn't understand, but did later, that he liked people, and he wanted to serve and be of service of them," Blake Wride said.

Cory Wride joined the Utah Army National Guard after high school, following in his father's footsteps. Blake Wride served more than three decades with the Guard. Cory then went on an LDS mission to New York City, a place that he had had a premonition he would be sent to, and a place his family fondly remembers chuckling over, thinking about the "Utah cowboy" being sent to The Big Apple.

After his mission, he became certified as a law enforcement officer in Utah and got a part-time job with the Department of Corrections. He was offered a full-time job, and was about to take it, when the Utah County Sheriff's Office called and offered him a position. Wride was just a year shy of serving 20 years with them when he was killed.

Leading by example

Wride loved the outdoors and pheasant hunting with his family. For the past eight years, they had gone to South Dakota to hunt. But he was also the type of man that would drive through grocery store parking lots looking for people who needed help loading groceries into their vehicles, or other assistance Nanette said.

Still, more than anything, he loved his wife, Nanette, and his children.

Over the weekend, Wride's sons brought their grieving mother and 15-year-old sister roses, just as their father would have done.

"He was a good example in teaching, especially the boys, in how to treat a lady, or a young woman or their mom," Kathy Wride said.

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