BENJAMIN, Utah County – People lined Main Street Friday and stood in reverence as the vehicle carrying a fallen law enforcement officer made its way through the streets of Spanish Fork to Walker Mortuary.
The honors were for Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Cory Wride, remembered as a loving family man devoted to service, especially helping the youth. He was the kind of man who would wear his full uniform to church on Sundays and teach the Benjamin 1st Ward's Gospel Doctrine class while being ready to run out at a moment's notice if he was needed, friends and family said.
It was while stopping to assist a stopped vehicle that Wride, 44, was shot and killed Thursday along State Route 73 in Eagle Mountain.
"I think the whole town showed up. Just to see that support and then to see the support from all the surrounding police departments, all their cars and officers. It was just an amazing feeling of support and love from the community," brother-in-law Johnny Revill said Friday.
Revill said he always knew Wride ran a risk of death by being a police officer, but the finality of Thursday's events had yet to sink in.
"When you hear it happen you think, boy that could never happen to us and when it does it seems like it's a dream you're waiting to kind of wake up from and hear that, you know 'Cory's fine and everything's going to be OK,'" Revill said.
He said he has felt a "whirlwind" of emotions, including hate, anger and compassion. But the outpouring of love from the community has "made him melt," he said. The acts of service soften the anger.
"It's just amazing what people are doing for us right now," he said.
Revill's Facebook page was filled with comments, likes and posts Friday, evidences of that support. A fund the family set up Thursday evening had raised $15,000 by Friday afternoon.
Contributions can be made at giveforward.com, a fund set up by his son, or at any Utah Community Credit Union to help the family pay for immediate expenses.
"My dad was one of the sweetest guys I know. He always tried to be an example for others," his son Shea Wride said Friday.
The family is doing it's best to move forward, he said. But it's not easy.
"It's hard. My mom's not doing too well but we're trying to stay strong and keep her strong."
The small town of Benjamin, west of Spanish Fork, where Wride lived, found ways show their appreciation for Wride's service.
Ten flags lined the lawn of the Benjamin LDS Chapel Friday at the center of this Utah County hamlet made up of longtime families and ranches. A tall flag flew at half-mast on the corner of the four-way stop in the city’s center in honor of Wride.
Blue and white ribbons were tied around nearly every round surface nearby – trees, the chain link fence surrounding Benjamin Park, power poles and mile posts.
Mailbox after mailbox sported ribbons, leading the way to the street where Wride's wife Nanette and their two teenage children live.
Cory Wride moved to the neighborhood 17 years ago, from American Fork after he and his new bride wed in the Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple. It was his first marriage, her second. It was shortly after the death of his grandfather, who owned much of the land in Benjamin that came to be his home.
It was there they raised five children and would entertain a family that now includes eight grandchildren.
"He was a well-liked individual here in town," second cousin and neighbor Blaine Wride said.
Born in Montecello, Wride graduated from American Fork High School. He attended Salt Lake Community College and Utah Valley State College. He was a member of the Utah National Guard for 12 years and was in his 20th year of service with law enforcement.
More farmland than homes, the Benjamin community bears evidence of Wride’s hobbies.
He bred paint horses and had started a cattle operation with his father Blake and had anywhere from six to eight cows, Blaine Wride said. He was a member of the Diamond Fork Riding Club.
Friends and neighbors have taken over the care of Cory Wride's animals since his death.
"Those horses and cows have never been taken care of better," Revill said of the service provided to the family.
Wride farmed his own hay, according to Blaine Wride, who helped Cory – who did not yet have a tractor – with farming when he first moved in. Farm equipment scattered across the back lot of Cory Wride’s home Friday was proof that the once novice farmer was now managing operations on his own.
Blaine Wride described his cousin as "very family oriented." Each year, he would go pheasant hunting with his dad and brothers.
His family had "deep roots" near Fish Lake. Cory Wride and his dad would visit in the summers and use the family trailer and boat, spending half days on the lake.
Revill fears the hardest times are ahead for the family, when life gets back to normal for others, but remains different for them. He said he is working on getting foundations and scholarships set up in his brother-in-law's name. They are also looking into possible legislation to install bullet-proof windows in police cars.
"We want to make a difference from what's happened to Cory," he said.
Contributing: Paul Nelson
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