In July 2014, Central Florida Lifestyle Magazine highlighted the touching story of the Peck family from Waterford Lakes.
Oldest son, Cody, was 19, a recent graduate of Timber Creek High School, intelligent, universally admired by his teachers and peers, and a gifted builder who loved wood and metalworking.
“He was an old soul,” his mom Lisa says. “He was always far above his time. Everyone looked up to him. We all knew anything Cody touched, from beginning to end, was amazing.”
Cody and his dad Steven had begun constructing a custom teardrop camping trailer, building it completely from scratch, from plans and blueprints Cody had drawn up. Steven used the time together to show his son around the garage, a passion he shares with his three brothers, all airplane mechanics in San Antonio, Texas.
Sadly, on September 9, 2014, Cody passed away after bravely battling reoccurring brain cancer for nearly three years. After taking time to grieve, Steven decided to finish the camper and take it to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in honor of his son.
“I thought, ‘I’ve got to finish this trailer,’” he says. “‘It’s a tribute.’ And once I started, it was a healing experience.”
Steven was sometimes tempted to add his own ideas but remembered how Cody was adamant about his design. “I’d think about something and then go, ‘No, no, no, that’s not what he wanted,’” he says. “I wanted to do it exactly how he wanted to do it. I couldn’t take ownership. I’d go over Cody’s journal and remind myself that I was doing it to honor him.
“And I’m so glad I did,” he adds. “It came out so nice. It really looks beautiful.”
The family successfully took the camper to the Rolex 24 at Daytona earlier this year, using the camping spot Cody had prepaid for. The tiny camper received a tremendous response.
“It was a proud moment,” Steven says. “Even as we were driving in, people were telling us how much they loved it and giving us the thumbs up. We were parked next to these giant, expensive RVs, but everyone loved our little camper.”
Continuing his tribute, Steven recently bought back Cody’s ’68 Chevy truck and has begun restoring it to pull the camper. He hopes to have everything completed in time for the next Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Cody has also encouraged his younger sister, Sydney, who is about to begin her first year at Florida State University with a focus on pediatric oncology.
“Cody has inspired me to pursue a career within the field of pediatric neuro-oncology to help others who suffer from his disease so parents and siblings do not have to experience the loss that our family has,” Sydney says.