Reflections on Cody Oser
There are people that we meet in life that leave impressions on our souls and Cody was one of them. I first met Cody when he was the project leader for the project EWB-CSU has in La Criba, El Salvador in August, 2015. It was my first trip with EWB and Cody had secured funds from the Broomfield Rotary club to help with the project. As I think back to the trip, there are many things I can recall about Cody – his ready smile, his can-do attitude, his intelligence, his hammock in our sleeping quarters with a mattress pad stuffed in it that was a challenge to get in and out of, but most of all, his dedication to the tasks at hand. He set up the staking of the distribution line to confirm the measurements on the construction as the Japanese Embassy was considering assisting the project by building the water tank and they asked for confirmation. This meant that a trip that had been dedicated to installing valves now expanded into other areas where the team had to be split, but Cody organized us according to our strengths and we each went our ways to help get the work done. This meant that less time was available to finish installing valves on the transmission line before leaving La Criba. I have pictures of Cody and the other engineers with their headlamps on, heading out with members of the community to work on the installation the evening before we were scheduled to leave the following day to return home.
While our days were filled with hard work, the evenings before going to sleep were given to discussions of what needed to be accomplished the following day and talking about our families, our dreams for the future and books. From these conversations, the love, admiration and esteem he had for his family, his father, an ex-Navy seal, his brother living in Africa, his sister, his mom and his nieces and nephews were evident. From them, he learned about community and that he wanted to accomplish things that would make a difference and would be beneficial to our world so that they reflected and measured the values he had gotten his family. He wanted to build and work with communities in a manner that was sustainable and respectful of their cultures and way of life. In our groups conversations, we all shared books that we loved and Cody decided to put together a list of books that we had all read, so that we would always have something to read that would remind us of each other. I still remember the book he was reading on that trip – Confessions of an Economic Hitman.
On the second trip in January, 2016, he traveled with the team that had been selected because the trip mattered to him. The ease and joy with which he worked with all of us is what I think EWB trips should be like. Team members were given nicknames that some carry to this day. At the end of the trip, there was to be a formal signing of an agreement between the Japanese Embassy, The Rotary Club of Santa Ana, the municipality of Candelaria, the community of La Criba and EWB-CSU. The two selected to represent us were Cody and Gabe Neymark. What a way to represent. We didn't travel back with Cody because he and Gabe were heading to Costa Rica, Gabe to study and Cody to celebrate the end of his college undergraduate work. He had shared with us his desire to join the Peace Corps and continue serving communities in need, this time, he would be going to Panama to continue to build communities the best way he knew how – by serving with them.
He was my friend and there is a hole in my soul because I miss him dearly.