Wife reflects on fallen officer's extraordinary life and legacy - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Wife reflects on fallen officer's extraordinary life and legacy never forgotten

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JANESVILLE (WKOW) -- Last week, fallen McFarland K9 officer Ryan Copeland's name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. and Friday his memory will be honored here at home.

His wife, Amanda, traveled to Washington as he was honored.  

Now she's reflecting on life with him and his legacy, that's never forgotten.

"Ryan was absolutely amazing. He enjoyed life so, so much. I miss everything."

Life without Ryan is hard for Amanda.

The high school sweethearts from Janesville were married for more than 10 years and the memories are everywhere.

"I still have some of his clothes in my closet, or I keep his toothbrush in my bathroom. I mean everything just reminds me of him."

It's been six months since she lost him.

"Just trying to live how he would live and he didn't have a care in the world. He just did what made him happy every single day and I'm trying to wake up and do that every day as well."

Serving made Ryan Copeland happy.

He spent 10 years in the Army, was a Green Beret and fought in Afghanistan.

Then, he became McFarland's first K9 officer.

"He just lived to serve his family and his community."

On November 23, 2015, Ryan's service ended, when he was killed in a car accident in the line of duty just miles from the home he shared with his wife.

"I never went back. The day after it happened, I just came and packed up all my stuff and I haven't been back since."

Amanda moved into a new house in Janesville.

"It still doesn't feel like home, because I feel like something is missing still."

"He's my best friend, absolutely my best friend. Which, I also think makes this the hardest, because I not only lost my husband, I lost my best friend too."

She'll forever wear a tribute to her best friend on her wrist, a tattoo of Ryan's badge number.

"I know he's here in spirit."

Ryan's memory will also be honored at the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial on the Capitol Square.

His name joins nearly 270 other fallen officers from our state.

It's also engraved hundreds of miles away in Washington, D.C.

"It's just so humbling and so honoring to know that he lived his life and everybody's gonna get to see his name and know what he did and that just means a lot to us."

Amanda was in D.C. on May 13 as Ryan's name was read at the national vigil that's part of Police Week.

It's a time dedicated to recognizing the lives lost around the country in the line of duty.

Every year, Wisconsin sends at least a dozen officers to escort surviving families.

This year has special meaning, as they pay tribute to Ryan and state trooper Trevor Casper.

"t's important for those families to see that they're not only being honored by people from all across the country, but they're being honored by people in their own backyard," says Dane County Deputy Sheriff Steven Mueller. "The people doing this job every day sacrifice a lot and the people we're honoring out there have sacrificed it all."

Ryan Copeland left his mark on the world and on the hearts of those who loved him.

"He was just, so full of life. I mean everybody honestly loved Ryan," says Amanda. "I need to learn to live life again and embrace every day."

The ceremony honoring officer Ryan Copeland and state trooper Trevor Casper will be Friday. There will be a squad procession involving officers from across Wisconsin that will leave Olin Park at 11:15 AM and arrive at the Wisconsin State Capitol. 

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