Community shows its support for fallen officer during procession
Matt Gade, Deseret News
SPANISH FORK — Crowds of 10 to 20 people stood on nearly every corner at almost every stoplight on Main Street here, part of the thousands who paid their respects to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride.
Wride, 44, was shot and killed last week after stopping to help a motorist. On Wednesday he was honored at funeral services in Orem, and burial at Spanish Fork City Cemetery.
Blue ribbons appeared in areas that lacked flags, tied on poles leading the way to the cemetery. Marquees displayed messages of support for Wride and his family, including one above a tire shop that read, "Sgt. Wride gave his life protecting ours."
The lights flashed on two fire trucks and one ambulance parked in front of the Spanish Fork Public Safety building.
Emotions flooded Victor Jones, who could not speak for several seconds when asked about Wride. He stood on Main Street with fellow members of the Spanish Fork 3rd Ward minutes before the procession made its way down the street.
An employee of the Utah County Motor Pool, Jones knew Wride for 18 years, he said, describing him as a “great guy” who was “very kind and tender-hearted.”
Jones encouraged his congregation, especially the Boy Scouts, to come Wednesday and pay their respects to Wride.
A motorcade of more than 60 police motorcycles and vehicles from dozens of police agencies in Idaho and Utah made its way down Main Street in Spanish Fork just after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Supporters stretched the length of the procession route, with more than 200 people in place near the entrance to 400 East, the street where the cemetery is housed. Some supporters stood with their hands on their hearts; others saluted the Wride family and police who drove through.
Heather Wilson came from Salem with her mother, sister and children, some of whom carried signs with a depiction of a Utah County Sheriff's badge with a blue and black stripe running through the center, indicating a fallen officer, and the word "Love," written on top.
Near the top of the street, a 150-year-old horse-drawn carriage stood, housing Wride’s casket. The owner of the carriage company, Matt Burch, knew Blake Wride and Cory Wride and donated his services for the funeral.
“We’re honored to do this,” he said.
Cory Wride’s horse, Twinkie, was saddled nearby with a cowboy hat and backward cowboy boots on her saddle in his honor.
“What better way for a cowboy,” Burch said.
Near the cemetery, members of the Utah County Sheriff's Mounted Posse Search and Rescue team and their horses stood on either side of the street. Beyond them stood a 20-by-30-foot American flag that was suspended from two fire truck ladders.
Nearly everyone in the crowd of more than 70 people standing at the cemetery gates held an American flag, in part thanks to the efforts of Roy Lambert, district chairman over Mapleton and Spanish Fork Boy Scouts, and Tom Sakievich, district commissioner over the same region.
The two men gave out more than 800 handheld flags, donated by Colonial Flag. No one coordinated the effort, they said. They became involved the day before when Spanish Fork police asked for their help.
Spanish Fork schools let out early for the day so the children could show their support for the fallen officer.
Scott Johnson, 18, was among the students who was there. He wore his Boy Scout uniform as he held dozens of American flags to hand out to those gathered. A student at nearby Maple Mountain High School, he said he felt like it was his responsibility to help out where he could.
Mary Brockbank’s home on 300 South was decorated to greet the procession: An American flag flew at half-staff in front of the home, another was suspended above her porch stairs, and the porch pillars bore blue ribbons. Brockbank wore a sweater in the colors of the American flag.
Her daughter Sandra Stokes, prompted the patriotism at the home, saying that it was a “very small” way to thank the officers and Wride for their service.
"It makes us speechless," son Shea Wride said of the community's support for their family, in between the funeral and interment services.
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