"I want to start by saying thank you."
That's how Sheriff Bill Elder began his opening remarks during fallen deputy Micah Flick's funeral Saturday afternoon at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.
"Thank you for the support provided to the Flick family and to the sheriff's office," he continued. "The outpouring of support gives me hope for the future - hope that law enforcement and their families will always have the support they need not just after a law enforcement death but every day."
After addressing the community, Elder moved on to talking fondly about his fallen deputy. Micah touched many during his time in Colorado, the sheriff said, and his impact has affected all of us.
He talked about Flick's grandfather, and how the pair shared a birthday. Elder said that the Flick family would say he looked and acted like his grandfather from the moment he was born. He added that Flick grew up in Colorado Springs and graduated from Colorado Springs Christian School.
Flick and his wife, Rachael, would meet at a local YMCA many years ago. Their first date was two days before Flick first joined the force in 2007.
"Rachael knew Micah always worked out there on Tuesdays at 2 p.m.," he said to laughter. "She must have had her eyes on him."
While Flick would often feel exhausted from training at the academy and dating his future bride, Elder said, he was also happy. The pair was married in the fall of 2007. Their twins were born just a few years after that.
Less important than his family, but still quite important was the jobs he held at the sheriff's office. He worked for the sheriff's office, floor security, court and transport, patrol, and investigations - any job he tried he did wonderfully.
"He loved his job," Elder said of Flick's deputy-work. "And everyone will tell you that he excelled in every job he held. Micah was killed in the line of duty on the exact date of his eleventh anniversary of service with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office."
Elder talked about his great faith in God, and how he kept a piece of paper at his desk at all times: "The pain I feel today will be the strength I feel tomorrow."
"Micah is stronger than ever," the sheriff said, "as one of God's angels in heaven. And when we are in pain I know we will get stronger every day as we move forward. Indeed, the pain we feel today will be our strength tomorrow."
He added that every man and woman who puts on a law enforcement badge understands the great responsibility and risk they face constantly - that they and their families have fought through hardships and made sacrifices. Elder said that's what makes law enforcement officers so special.
"I'm so very proud of Micah, and I admire the courage he displayed as he made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his community," he said. "And I will forever be thankful. I know the others who were there feel the same."
Elder shared fond memories of Flick - like the deputy's love of food and dislike of soup as a "meal" (soup is an appetizer).
The sheriff talked about how happy Flick was to be on the Special Response Team and how it showed him he was physically and mentally capable of more than he ever thought possible.
"Making a difference and treating people right made Micah happy," Elder said. "No case was too small or too mundane. Micah treated every case and every victim as the most important. He knew they deserved the best and he gave them his best every single time."
Flick was shot along with four other officers while responding to reports of a stolen car as part of an anti-theft taskforce in Colorado Springs Monday night. The other officers survived and three have already left the hospital. Flick was pronounced dead that night.
He is survived by his wife and twin 7-year-old daughters. His wife also spoke at the funeral, as did Gov. John Hickenlooper and his brother-in-law.
The feel of the funeral was somber, but also celebratory; a celebration of Micah Flick's life. His love of pop music, of his family, of his work and friends. While there were plenty of times where speakers choked up, everyone spoke of Flick as a happy person who made every life he touched better.
You can also watch part of his wife's, Rachael Flick, speech during the funeral: