CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. – Trooper William Moden's laugh was the loudest in the room, his sister-in-law Emily Russell said Friday at Moden's celebration of life, and it was infectious, too. So it only made sense that he was the type of guy willing to try on a dog's bark collar.
"He made a barking noise," Russell said, recalling the stunt. "And you would've thought he got Tased. He threw the bark collar across the room. They asked him why he did it, and he said, 'Why not?'"
Moden, 37, who was struck and killed along Interstate 70 in eastern Colorado last week, was remembered as a fun-loving friend and husband – and as a trooper who was deeply dedicated to the Colorado State Patrol.
CSP Chief Matthew Packard said he met Moden when the two worked together in Castle Rock, where Moden was assigned after starting out as a cadet in 2007.
Packard called on Moden when "I found myself in the middle of something that I needed a real trooper to come and fix."
Moden's uniforms were always neatly tailored and pressed, his boots always polished. His reports were always detailed.
"Will lived by these core values," Packard said. "He was the true personification of what it means to be a Colorado state trooper."
So much so, in fact, that Packard on Friday announced that Moden was being promoted posthumously to the rank of master trooper.
Moden was married to his wife, Amy. It was a relationship that Russell was unsure of at the start.
"He was so loud," Russell said. "It was definitely a 'whoa' moment and I wasn't sure I liked him. Little did I know, I would love him so deeply we would have a bond that would never be broken. There were no strangers in his life, only friends he hadn't met yet."
Moden's mother-in-law jokingly called him "Sir William," Russell said, and he took it as a compliment: "Your mom thinks I'm a prince," he told Amy.
When his father-in-law passed away, Moden stood at the casket and vowed to take care of his family.
"That moment," Russell said, "Sir William became our knight in shining armor."