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Funeral services for Sgt. Kurt Kruize

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Funeral services were held with full military honors on Monday for Kurt Kruize, a 1993 graduate of Hancock High School. Kruize died from injuries sustained in an accident while serving his country in Iraq.

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Kurt was on his second tour of duty in Iraq having been deployed in January. He was in Baghdad when he was accidentally pinned between a tractor and trailer while loading equipment on April 4.

An Army Chaplain and sergeant were waiting at the home of Lyle and Bev Kruize in Hancock on Monday, April 5 when Bev arrived home from work. She was asked to call Lyle, who came home immediately, both having a sinking feeling that they knew what the news would be.

"I knew they would send a cable-gram if he was injured," Lyle said, "so I knew the worst had happened."

The two men said that Kurt was killed in a "freak accident" that was still under investigation. Details would be available to the Kruize family later.

Before deploying to Iraq, Kurt was living in St. Cloud with his wife Billie Jo and four children, Austin 13, Annabelle 10, Raven 5 and Tamika 2. He was working for Viking Coca-Cola Bottling in St. Cloud as a fork-lift operator.

Kurt attended Hancock Public School from kindergarten through 12th grade, graduating with the class of 1993. In the graduation section that year, Kurt was described as a very timid young man who was just overcoming his shyness. He loved participating in football and really enjoyed his sixth hour study hall. His friends gave him the nickname "Bomber".

Kurt joined the Army Reserve just prior to his senior year and enjoyed the weekend drills. He proudly wore his military fatigues to his senior prom. After graduation he attended Detroit Lakes Technical School where he studied automotive mechanics. He worked as a mechanic for several years and eventually started at Coca-Cola. He loved spending time with his family.

Kurt also has three siblings, Tammy Angrimson, who lives near Paynesville, Kari Standfuss of Big Lake and Darren Kruize who lives in North Carolina. His grandmother, Phyllis Harstad, lives in Benson along with many aunts, uncles and cousins in the area.

Kurt was a member of the 367th Engineer Battalion headquartered in St. Cloud at the time of his death. Burial was in the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery in Little Falls located near Camp Ripley.

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