Surrounded by law enforcement from around the country, the Colerain Police Department, friends and family laid Officer Dale Woods to rest Monday. He died Jan. 7 after being struck by a pickup truck while on duty Jan. 4.
During public funeral services at the Cintas Center, officials took turns remembering Woods and encouraging his three children to remember him proudly.
"Your dad is a hero," Colerain Township Trustee Raj Rajagopol, himself a former deputy sheriff, said while choking back tears.
"Being a hero doesn't require that you die in a fiery explosion or that you have some innate skill for carrying a football or a tune," Colerain Chief Mark Denney assured Woods' children, "but it does require you be willing to give everything, including your life, for a purpose bigger than yourself, and if that doesn't describe your dad, I don't know what does."
Denney described Woods as "a natural cop," and "a cop's cop." The kind of officer you don't have to teach common sense or how to talk to people with respect or how to handle a stressful situation. He said Woods was the kind of officer who would run into gunfire or a burning building for people he'd never met.
He was, friends and co-workers said, someone who was always committed to service, knowing from a young age that he wanted to be a police officer or a fireman. Woods enjoyed playing drums and golfing. He was a good man.
Chaplain James Love reminded loved ones, especially Woods' fellow officers, to remember him; to talk about him; to tell his story.
"Whenever something comes up, say it out loud. 'Hey guys, you know what Dale would say? You know what Dale would do.' It is my hope that the memory of Dale will eventually - maybe not now, but eventually - bring a smile to your face more than a tear to your eye."
Woods will be buried at Spring Grove Cemetery.