Cody Medley was 17 when he told his mother he wanted to be a firefighter, but during their conversation all his mother could see was her 4-year-old son, barely taller than the kitchen table, talking about running into burning buildings.
Medley decided to become a firefighter and eventually a paramedic after watching crews from the Sunman Fire Department and after speaking with one of the department’s cadets, who told him he was eligible to start training.
But being old enough to train for the fire department didn’t excuse him from the house rules of his mother, Stacy Weldishofer, a self-described strict parent. Medley had a habit of pulling practical jokes that sometimes got him grounded and meant he once had to get on his knees and beg his mother to briefly release him from his punishment so he could make a run with Sunman firefighters.
In a memorial ceremony Wednesday, Weldishofer and Medley’s father, Jeff Medley, remembered their son’s love for practical jokes and the smile that almost always gave them away.
The Medley file
Name: Spc. Cody Medley
Job: Paramedic with Indianapolis EMS
When he joined the department: June 1, 2010
Weldishofer and Jeff Medley also thanked Cody Medley’s co-workers at Indianapolis EMS, where he had worked since 2010, for the stories they’ve heard since their son’s death about his work ethic and dedication to his job.
Those stories confirmed for Weldishofer that she’d raised her son to be a good man.
“I can never thank you enough for that,” she said.
Weldishofer and Jeff Medley said their son was proud to be a paramedic, and Jeff Medley said he planned to honor the work and memory of his son for the rest of his life.
“I am the proudest father that ever lived,” he said.
“I am so proud of you, Cody. And I love you with every piece and fragment of my heart. And I look forward to seeing you again, my very best friend.”
Both parents spoke of Medley’s smile, which Weldishofer learned was the warning before one of her son’s practical jokes. When his upper lip quivered, she knew to expect something — though she wasn’t sure what.
One of the last practical jokes Medley played on his mother was when he hid behind a door and then jumped out yelling, trying to frighten her. Her response was to hit Medley in “a very sensitive area.”
“I wasn’t aiming for that. I was shocked. And I didn’t know who was jumping out at me,” she said.
Medley’s co-workers became the target of his jokes, too.
Alex Brinley, partner of Tim McCormick, remembered the time he visited McCormick and Medley at work. After McCormick went to the restroom, Medley tied the door shut and agreed to open it only after McCormick gave him several compliments.
Jeff Medley said his son loved his co-workers, and he thanked the members of Indianapolis EMS for the support they’ve shown Medley’s family since his death.
“You’re his family. But I feel as if you’re my family as well. And I thank you for that,” Jeff Medley said.