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Kruize honored during memorial service

By Katie Erdman

Hancock Record

Flags waving in the breeze, Patriot Guard standing at attention and the flashing lights of emergency vehicles were the backdrops for a service of remembrance, honor and celebration for a soldier and Hancock native Kurt Kruize on Sunday.

Hancock and surrounding community to celebrate the life of Kruize, who was killed in Iraq in April.

The memorial service followed his funeral earlier this spring St. Cloud, where Kruize was living with his wife, Billie, and their four children, prior to his deployment in January 2010.

The memorial service in Hancock allowed Kruize's family still in the area, friends, church and community members to say their goodbyes and honor Kruize.

Kruize's family was escorted into town by members of the Hancock Police and Fire Department. About 75 Patriot Guard members lined the route and stood at attention at the entrance to the Hancock High School. Guard members then formed two lines for family members to walk through into the school.

About 200 people attended the service in the same gym where Kruize graduated from high school 17 years ago.

Pastor Becky Worner welcomed those attending and led a prayer. The "Star Spangled Banner" was sung by Kruize's cousin, Heidi Thoma.

During a slide show of Kurt's life, the crowd stood during the slides showing his service and deployment.

Pastor Harrison Newhouse, Pastor Julius Miller and Pastor Worner, from Hancock area churches, conducted the service. The homily by Worner honored Kruize as an American hero. She said Christ was another hero who gave up His life and made death a doorway to eternal life.

Worner added that Christ knew the price He would pay for salvation, just as Kurt knew the price he might pay for his country. She encouraged people to celebrate the life of these heroes and be comforted by their sacrifices.

Kruize's sisters, Tammy Angrimson and Kari Standfuss, joined his niece Torrie Kruize, in singing "Heaven Was Needing A Hero." The service ended with the crowd singing "Amazing Grace."

The Morris Color Guard presented the Colors and Recession of Colors, and a lunch was served following the service by women from Our Redeemer's and West Zion Lutheran churches.