INDIANAPOLIS — Two medics who died in the line of duty were remembered Wednesday by co-workers as young men dedicated to helping save lives, while friends and relatives recalled their fun-loving nature.
About 1,000 mourners filled Butler University's Clowes Memorial Hall for Wednesday's memorial service honoring Cody Medley, 22, of Indianapolis, and Tim McCormick, 24, of Greenwood.
They became the first known emergency services workers in the city's history to be killed in the line of duty when their ambulance collided with a car early Saturday. McCormick died at the scene, and Medley died Sunday.
"I have struggled ... to find a shred of meaning in the tragic deaths of these young men," said Dr. Charles Miramonti, chief of the Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services. "I don't have any answers today."
He asked dozens of uniformed Emergency Medical Services workers sitting together in the audience to stand, saying he wanted to illustrate the unity of the department.
"Mourn the loss of your brothers today and celebrate in honor of what they left us," he said, addressing the EMS workers.
Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Sen. Joe Donnelly and other officials joined family members and hundreds of medics, police officers and firefighters in paying tribute to Medley and McCormick.
"Emergencies were a way of life for these young men and they did (their jobs) for strangers because they cared," Ballard said.
Ballard postponed the annual State of the City address because of the deaths of Medley and McCormick. The speech is rescheduled for March 8.
Medley's mother, Stacy Weldishofer, described her son as a practical joker and avid outdoorsman who liked to hone his dancing skills.
"He wasn't the best dancer," she said, drawing laughter from the crowd. "I told him one time, you need to just act really silly. ... So that's what he did."
She said Medley decided at age 17 to become a volunteer firefighter but sometimes had to negotiate to be able to go out on calls because she was a "strict mom" who often grounded him.
"He'd come in the room and he was going to get one week and he'd walk out with six every time," Weldishofer said.
She said she's comforted knowing that the lessons she tried to teach her son about being a considerate person had taken root, as evidenced by the outpouring of support after the ambulance crash.
"Even though his life was cut short ... the gift you gave to me to know that my son did grow up to have that character and have you as friends, to know that I succeeded, I can never thank you enough for that," she said.
Medley's father, Jeff Medley, described his son as his best friend and a man who took "100 percent pride" in his work.
"I'm very proud of my son," he said. "My son is my hero and I'm going to try to live my life in appreciation of my son and in honor of my son."
McCormick's partner, Alex Brinley, said McCormick was always smiling and that he tried to live life to the fullest.
"He was unstoppable, and his spirit was infectious," he said. "He loved to help people. He was a man for others."
Family friend Levi Blake said McCormick was an Eagle Scout who was fluent in Mandarin and studied in China while in high school. He had earned his political science degree at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in December.
"His message to you would be stay strong, and never give up on your dreams," Blake said.
Brinley said McCormick and Medley always played pranks on each other and were fun to be around.
"They made a great team," he said.
Police said the ambulance carrying Medley and McCormick had the right of way when a car driven by 21-year-old Jade Hammer collided with it early Saturday.
Marion County prosecutors are awaiting toxicology tests that will show Hammer's blood-alcohol content and help them decide if she'll be charged in the crash.