South Metro firefighter remembered for close ties to family, friends, colleagues after tumor battle

Hundreds attend memorial service for Cody Mooney, 31, in Littleton

A group including family members of firefighter Cody Mooney walk his body to the front of the room at his memorial service March 8 at Mission Hills Church in Littleton. His wife and children sit down in the front row. Mooney, 31, died March 2 of complications after a surgery to remove a brain tumor. Many dozens of fire responders and law enforcement, from agencies like South Metro Fire Rescue and West Metro Fire Rescue, as well as fire departments from Aurora, Thornton and Golden, attended the service.
Ellis Arnold

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The firefighter was humble, but his influence will ring out far beyond his time on Earth.

That's the picture family, friends and a colleague painted of Cody Mooney, 31, a firefighter in the south metro Denver area who died March 2 after fighting an aggressive brain tumor.

“Cody was not larger than life,” said his wife, Emily Mooney, at the memorial service March 8 at Mission Hills Church in Littleton. “He was real, he was wonderful and he was ours.”

More than 200 people — many dozens among them fire responders and law enforcement — gathered to hear stories of Mooney, remembered as a devoted husband and father, a caring brother, and a man of ever-present faith.

He had worked at South Metro Fire Rescue, Littleton Fire Rescue and the Cunningham Fire Protection District. Besides his wife of 10 years, Mooney also is survived by their four children and another expected baby, who is due soon.
Mooney lived in Divide, an area west of Colorado Springs.

His brothers and father, Kevin Mooney, heaped praise on the fire responder community, thanking them for supporting them in their time of grief.

To “the men and women of the South Metro fire department: I will show up differently for my friends and my family and my community because of you,” Kevin Mooney said. “You changed me because Cody changed you.”

Personnel from South Metro Fire Rescue and West Metro Fire Rescue, as well as fire departments from Aurora, Thornton and Golden — and even a firefighter from Los Angeles County in California — came to pay respects.

Mooney was a dedicated firefighter who “wore his emotions on the outside,” said firefighter Dave Petau, who trained Mooney as an instructor.

Mooney was “the first one there in the morning, running stairs,” Petau said. “He was a true mentor to many of his peers.”

Petau recalled a night when Mooney performed CPR on a man who was in cardiac arrest — who, along with the man’s wife, attended the memorial service.

“While it was a team effort that night, I have no doubt in my mind he wouldn’t be alive if Cody weren’t there,” Petau said.

Petau would rib students, including Mooney, telling them they were “meeting the minimum standards” regardless of their performance.

“Cody, when it came to being a husband, a father, a friend, a firefighter and everything else, you greatly exceeded the minimum standards,” Petau said, his voice breaking. “We’ve got it from here.”

Away from his public service, Mooney was a fierce friend — his brother, Chris Mooney, is older, but said Cody Mooney felt like the big brother.

“I’d be … down and out, and he’d take me into his home and give me anything he had,” Chris Mooney said.

Cody Mooney was a “sage,” but didn’t know it, Chris Mooney said. His brother had a philosophy: He’d push for “just five more.”

That could mean five more minutes playing with his kids, five more miles on a hike when the going got tough or just five more breaths when a person feels like giving up, Chris Mooney said.

For someone who needs a shoulder to lean on, Cody Mooney would think to stay for five more minutes but end up talking for two more hours, his brother said.

And that spirit of “serving and saving,” speakers said, came from his faith, a deeply ingrained part of him.

Emily Mooney, his wife, read words from his journal, where he wrote that the purpose of his life is “to glorify God by enjoying him.”

“God wants things for us, not from us,” Emily Mooney continued.

After calling Cody her “favorite place,” Emily Mooney quoted him again.

“I hope they remember me as a man that was devoted to the things in my life,” Mooney said. “God, family, friends and fun.”

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