OREM — Wednesday was all about remembering a fallen deputy.
"We want to make sure that this day is Cory's day of remembrance, that we bring sufficient honor to him and his sacrifice and pay tribute to the man that he was — both in his professional life as a deputy and in his personal life as the example that he was," Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy said.
Family members, friends, co-workers, fellow law enforcers and a community said goodbye Wednesday to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride, a man who lived his life to provide service to others — and ultimately protected his community by making the ultimate sacrifice.
Wride was shot and killed in the line of duty one week ago while helping who he thought were stranded motorists. He was shot twice without warning while sitting in his patrol car.
Wride is the first member of the sheriff's office to be killed in the line of duty. Hundreds showed up at the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University to say goodbye to their loved one and hero.
"This is the day that we dread. We pray that this day will never come. But evil has crossed our path, and we are here," Tracy told the congregation.
But the sheriff said it was not how Wride died that made him a hero, it was how he lived. And it was how the community responded to his death and rallied around to support his widow, his family and fellow officers that defined the citizens.
"Today, the fabric of this community is being revealed," Tracy said.
With an American-flag-draped coffin standing in the middle off the arena — flanked on either side by flowers and wreaths, including one that contained his cowboy hat hanging from it — family and friends paid tribute to the quiet cowboy who preferred his boots and the wide open spaces of ranch life and pheasant hunting with his family than the big city. Wride was a man who lived for his family, his faith and for serving others.
"We're just overwhelmed with what this has turned into. It kind of has a life of its own. As some of the deputies said last night, they're going to go all out for this. And I've had many of them tell me that they'd gladly take Cory's place," Wride's brother-in-law, Johnny Revill, said prior to the start of the funeral.
"The one thing I've learned about this whole experience is the brotherhood of these officers nationwide is something that I envy. Their example of sacrifice and love for each other is something we don't understand," he said. "I know Cory is rolling his eyes right now at this whole thing but glad that his brothers are able to pay this tribute, and he would do the same if it was them.
The law enforcement community did go "all out" for Wride on Wednesday. At his interment at the Spanish Fork Cemetery, Wride's coffin was transferred at the gate from a hearse to a horse-drawn carriage. As the carriage made its way past the line of law enforcers from all over the state standing in salute, Nanette Wride took the reins and guided her husband's coffin to its final resting place.
Following a 21-gun salute, a flyover by four service helicopters in the "missing man" formation, and the playing of taps by two trumpeters who echoed each other, the flag that had covered Wride's coffin all day was folded and presented to his wife. Additional folded flags were then presented to Wride's mother, his daughter and his sons.
When dispatchers made the traditional "last call" over the police radio — when Wride's police handle was called out and there was only silence in reply — Nanette Wride bowed her head and the tears flowed.
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