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John Lechner, web developer, shares his own poignant memoir of Cody on his birthday.

I first met Cody in my second semester at what was Macon state college. We were in the course, ITEC 3155 – Systems Analysis & Design. The professor we had, William Ochs, had a reputation of being the most challenging professor to have when it comes to workload. We ended up getting put in the same group project, the primary deliverables of which was a rather grueling paper, which Cody took upon himself to write a vast majority of, and a 20 minute presentation on the paper. Every time I asked him if there was anything more that I could do to contribute his answer was always the same, something along the lines of: “It’s cool, I got it”. Whenever I would ask him about his progress on anything school-related I noticed how meticulous he was in something so simple like an answer to a small-talk question. I understood that this, coupled with his work ethic, was a great recipe, and that literally nothing could stop this guy from being successful.

The group project was evaluated by a panel that included the professor and classmates from the same course, but from the semester prior.  These panel members were hand-picked by the professor. Cody, of course found himself on the panel for the next semester.

After Systems Analysis & Design, the next time I would run into Cody would be on our first day working as part-time web developers on the school website. I found it only appropriate that it would be him and I that got hired there, because I considered us to be at the top of our class, which says more about him than it does of me. If he’s first place in the race, I’m in second…finishing a minimum of 60 seconds after. Whenever we had office-hours that would overlap and an email would come into our inbox, I found myself moving as fast I possibly could to jump on a task before he got to it so that it wouldn’t look like I was just sitting in my office doing my homework in my spare time, which most of the time I was. Meanwhile, in Cody’s office, he’s working on his own independent redesign of the school’s homepage that included a complete restructuring of their mobile navigation.

When I was in my senior capstone at Middle Georgia State University, Nick gave a talk to our class about CMS, and at the end of the talk mentioned an open developer position which I followed up on. When Matthew told me they were looking to hire another developer and I mentioned the position to Cody, he said that he remembered seeing the initial email for the position that I filled and he didn’t bother applying because he thought he was under-qualified. To which I replied, “Dude, if they hired me, they will hire you”. So now we work together again, with him banging out sites in easily double the speed I can.

I originally didn’t intend for this email to get this long and the longer it gets the more it feels like I’m delivering a eulogy so I’ll make this the last paragraph. When my girlfriend of 5 years broke up with me a few months ago and I was an obvious mess and definitely needed a friend, I was getting up to go to lunch and he went out of his way to go eat with me, ask me how I was doing, offer condolences and told me he’d keep me in his prayers. Small acts like that cost one almost nothing but they’re things that you just don’t forget. He’s a good man with a good heart and an excellent moral compass.

Here’s to you Cody, on your birthday!

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