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Officer honored for spearheading burial effort for veteran after ashes found in shopping cart

Published: Jan. 12, 2017 at 4:09 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 3, 2017 at 7:51 PM CDT
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Officer Angela Burch receives an award. (Source: Kilgore Police Department, via Facebook)
Officer Angela Burch receives an award. (Source: Kilgore Police Department, via Facebook)

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - A Kilgore Police Department officer was honored this week for her tenacity and dedication to securing a proper burial for a veteran whose ashes were in a shopping cart.

Officer Angela Burch received an Achievement Award during the Kilgore City Council's weekly meeting. KPD commended Burch for her award, calling her selfless and caring.

"This was a personal journey for Officer Burch and demonstrates a servant's heart, dedicated to her community and her country," KPD said in a social media post.

In September 2015, officials found a box in a shopping cart at a Walmart in Kilgore.

Burch, property and evidence officer for KPD, began investigating to discover who the remains belonged to.

The department later determined that the box contained the ashes of U.S. Marine Donald Krell, a Korean war veteran, who was also enlisted in the U.S. Army. Police say Krell's ashes had been missing for years before they turned up.

For a year, Burch tried to locate Krell's family and friends.

"(I) was able to track down next of kin. She lives in England, his daughter, and got permission from her to bury him here," Burch told KLTV in November 2016.

But Burch's quest didn't end there. She wanted to ensure Krell received a proper burial.

"Officer Burch went to family members and obtained the death certificate and worked until the City of Kilgore donated a cemetery plot at Kilgore Memorial Cemetery for the remains of Mr. Krell," KPD said.

RELATED: Marine's remains given proper burial in Kilgore after showing up in shopping cart

Krell was laid to rest on Veterans Day 2016. A headstone was moved from a family burial plot to the Kilgore plot.

"I'm not a veteran but they fought for my freedom to be here. And it's the least that I can do for a veteran of the United States," Burch said.

Burch received an award and a pin from the police department for her efforts.

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