Cody Oser: a Humanitarian Life Cut Short
Cody Steven Oser’s humanitarian work crossed international borders — thousands of miles away from his hometown.
Broomfield mourned the loss of the 24-year-old Peace Corps volunteer when he died last April 8 in Panama.
At this year’s Heart of Broomfield Awards, he will be honored posthumously with the Heart and Soul Award.
Since his death, multiple memorial services were held in cities across the globe, including the village he served, and a memorial scholarship has been established in his honor — already benefiting an engineering student attending Colorado State University with a $10,000 award.
His father Steve Oser said a second scholarship award ceremony is coming soon.
Cody’s friends and family described Oser as passionate and driven, quiet and shy. He was fluent in Spanish and Ngäbere, and was studying French and Swahili.
Oser graduated from Colorado State University with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and received minors in Business Administration and International Development in 2015. Prior to that, he had graduated from Broomfield High School.
He had planned to work in Cerro Gavilan, in northwest Panama, on latrine construction and the formation and legalization of a water committee.
After he left the Peace Corps, which would have been October 2018, Oser planned to travel a few months and then return home to Colorado where he wanted to buy land in the mountains and own a hostel — similar to the ones where he spent so much time while traveling.
Steven and Carla Harbert, in their nomination letter, said they had the honor of being his godparents and watching him grow up to be an amazing man.
“The world was robbed of a caring, intelligent person when we lost him,” they said.
Broomfield was his home, but he went out into the world — to El Salvador, Kenya, Pine Ridge, South Dakota and Panama — to help others.
“He talked, wise beyond his years, with his knowledge of building potable water structures, solar-powered irrigation systems and sanitation systems,” they said.
Mayor Randy Ahrens, who dedicated last year’s Broomfield Volunteer event to Oser, called him an “exemplary ambassador” for the community.
Oser volunteered at the annual Frank Shorter Healthy Learning Paths race and expo where he connected with aspiring students, again selflessly volunteering his time and expertise to benefit others.
“I would like to believe that Cody learned those lessons from growing up in Broomfield where he witnessed firsthand what volunteerism meant,” Ahrens said. “Although most of Cody’s fine work was elsewhere in the world, his spirit as an ambassador was inspired because of a great family that constantly practices volunteerism in Broomfield.”
Former police chief Thomas Deland said in his capacity as a member of the Broomfield Police Department for more than 37 years, he has had the opportunity to meet and work with many “fine young people.”
“Cody was among the very finest,” he said, and he comes from a family that “truly understands the meaning of helping others.”
His father, Steve Oser, is a retired police officer, his mother is a registered nurse and his older brother served as a Broomfield police detective.
“With this family background and his upbringing by thoughtful and compassionate parents, it’s no wonder that Cody dedicated his life to helping others,” Deland said.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios