Memorial service honors Colorado State Patrol trooper Cody Donahue

Posted at 5:53 AM, Dec 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-02 20:41:14-05

Family, friends and fellow officers gathered Friday to honor a Colorado State Patrol trooper who died tragically in the line of duty.

Cody Donahue's sister called Cody a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, friend, trooper and neighbor, just to name a few.

Cody was first and foremost a family man, his sister Erin Donahue-Paynter said.

"One family friend called him an 'an all-in dad,'" Donahue-Paynter said. "He loved every part of being a dad. He loved hugging on them and playing with them. He loved teaching them new things."

Cody left behind two young daughters -- Leila, 10, and Maya, 7, and his wife Velma.

Donahue-Paynter said Cody wouldn't like all the sadness at the funeral, so she asked the crowd to clap, cheer and make some noise to help Velma, Leila and Maya feel the love in the audience.
That request was followed by thunderous applause.
Donahue-Paynter talked about Cody's love for his wife.
"Cody kept a picture of you in his wallet like he did when you were dating," Donahue-Paynter said. "You gave him the family he always wanted, and you made him so happy."
Donahue-Paynter said her brother was easy to be proud of.
"He had a strong set of personal ethics. There was right, and wrong. He always did what was right," Donahue-Paynter said. "He led by example and by being a genuinely good man."
"He believed the best in people. He wanted everyone to reach for more potential," said Cody's brother-in-law Z Dusper. "Cody will always be with us all."
"He wasn't perfect, but he was good," Dusper said.
Dusper said Cody will forever be his role model.
"He felt a calling to serve his community and state," Cody's pastor said. "He served with dignity and honor."
"I am so proud to know Cody," Colorado State Patrol Chief Scott Hernandez said. "He was tenacious in his fight to keep our roadways and citizens safe."
Originally from North Dakota, Cody Donahue had been on the force for 11 years and was stationed at the Castle Rock office.
"We all loved Cody down in Caste Rock," Colorado State Patrol Captain and Castle Rock Commander Jeff Goodwin said.
Goodwin talked about Cody's physical strength, his booming voice and his feelings on the law.
"It was black or white -- that’s how he enforced the law," Goodwin explained.
Goodwin also talked about Cody's love for Velma.
"Velma, his love for you was so strong -- it’s the stuff Hollywood makes movies out of," Goodwin said.
Goodwin said Cody was stationed at several places around the state during his career -- Fairplay, Broomfield, Golden, the State Capitol and Castle Rock.
It turns out Cody was working at the Capitol until recently. He returned to Castle Rock November 1, just weeks before he was killed.
"We put in a lot of hours on I-25 between Lone Tree and Monument," Goodwin explained. "Oddly enough, the same section of highway would claim Cody’s life just a week ago."
Goodwin said Cody's call sign will be retired in the Castle Rock office. He also said Cody's name tag will be affixed to his mailbox and will never come off. Goodwin says the team will drape the box with a thin blue line across the front.
Cody's sister asked that her brother be remembered next year on March 17.
"This St. Patrick's Day, please remember him in toast -- not to this loss, but to his life," Erin Donahue-Paynter said.

Funeral & procession

A motorcade procession for Donahue started at approximately 9:45 a.m. Friday in Littleton. It traveled onto westbound C-470 from West Bowles Avenue and continued on westbound Colorado 470 until exiting onto northbound Colorado 285. Both highways were closed to honor Donahue.

Near Kipling, the vehicles making up the large procession detail entered Colorado 285. As the smaller group passed, the large procession detail fell in behind the main processional.

The large procession continued along Colorado 285, until it reached the Denver First Church of the Nazarene.

Honoring Trooper Donahue

Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered flags around the state be lowered in remembrance of Donahue.

Donahue's family issued a statement Thursday thanking the community for its support, and asking for people to stop driving carelessly.

First of all, we want to thank everyone who has sent love and prayers to our family, including our community, the Colorado State Patrol, and our friends and family around the world.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  There are no words to express how great our loss is.  Cody was the rock of our family.  He was always there to make us smile, lend a hand, give a hug.  Our hearts are forever broken.  We do want to take this opportunity to ask all who have been touched by this tragedy, please don’t drive carelessly.  If you see emergency personnel on the side of the road, please slow down and move over.  Two little girls are going to grow up without their Daddy and there’s just no good reason.  

The Donahue Family

A memorial page set up for Donahue by Ellis Family Services says the family is asking for contributions to the Flying Wheels Foundation be made in lieu of flowers.

The foundation’s address is 15055 South Golden Road, Golden, Colorado 80401.

GoFundMe account was set up by the Colorado State Patrol to help raise money for the family.

Donahue died on Nov. 25 after a truck driver allegedly drifted onto the shoulder of I-25 south of Castle Rock where Donahue investigated another crash.

The man accused of killing Donahue, Noe Gamez-Ruiz, is being charged with failure to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle and careless driving resulting in death. He’s next due in court in January.


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