(CNN) – DNA recently helped identify the remains of corporal crofts, a 19 year old soldier reported missing in action during the Korean War in 1950. Deanne Coffin was there and talked to family members to find out what this graveside service meant to them.
The nephew of Army Corporal ‘Blaine’ Croft said, “It’s really a joyous occasion despite the tears to have Blaine come home. Someone we have heard about for literally decades and who gave his life for our country. It’s amazing.”
Flags blew in the wind as family and community members listened to Neal West as he spoke about Corporal Croft’s at a graveside service at Hillcrest Cemetery in Shelley. He said he yearned to find out more about the uncle he never knew.
Neal West said, “Rather than Blaine just being MIA, it’s where, why, how, and that lead to a letter writing campaign and ultimately DNA analysis.”
The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency returned Corporal Croft’s remains to the family for a burial with full military honors and presented the Purple Heart to his brother Kim Crofts on behalf of ‘Blaine.’ Kim dedicated his brother’s grave.
Kim said, “A myriad of emotions. The honor and exactness in which they did it was just, I was just awe struck by that and it was very touching and personal and when the general was handing out the pins and so forth it was on a personal level and I really enjoyed the interaction between them.”
He says the family can finally have closure of what happened to their brother over 60 years ago.
Kim also said, “Really feel at peace and joy and knowing someone in the family didn’t know for sure either and now that’s all settled.”
Hiedi Young is the Director with the POW/MIA Awareness Association. She attended Saturday’s ceremony. She says she hopes this is just the first of many Idahoans that will be accounted for and will come home.
Hiedi stated, “This ceremony embodies exactly who we are and why we even exist. It is our mission to hold our government accountable to make sure that every single service member who is ever put on this uniform has the opportunity to come home and their family has that closure and so to have something so close to home, that is absolutely amazing for us.”