East TN Marine Laid to Rest

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Kingston, Roane County (WVLT) - An East Tennessee Marine killed in a roadside bomb last week has been laid to rest.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Kim Bedford was at Fridays's burial in Kingston, where the rain added to what was already a somber day.

Hundreds of people came out Friday morning to pay final respects to 24-year old Marine Lance Corporal William Craig Koprince, Junior of Lenior City.

Family, friends, and fellow marines say Koprince was truly one of the few and the proud.

"We just love him and we're glad we were able to be in his life the past twelve years," says Jana Hulsey.

Hulsey says she watched William Craig Koprince, Jr. grow up from a young boy into a proud Marine.

"He was a wonderful man, we're very proud of Billy and all he's done for us," says Hulsey.

The rain poured down as of hundreds of other East Tennesseans painfully watched as Koprince was laid to rest in the Kingston Memorial Gardens.

"I'm just very honored that I was able to be here to show honor to him," says Duane Romine.

"It's hard on the heart, the strings of the heart," says Romine.

"We've lost one of ours, so it's always touching when we stand out here and look down into a casket at a young man who's paid the ultimate sacrifice," says Sgt. Derrick Hudson.

The ultimate sacrifice the 2001 Lenoir City High School graduate made for all of us.

"He's allowed every one of us to be able to walk the streets," says Romine. "He didn't lose his life in vein. He gave his life for protection and freedom of others in this country, both now and in the future."

But family friends like Hulsey can't help but think about the past.

"When we went to the airport Sunday night, it was hard picking him up because the time before, we picked him up in the airport with posters and yelling for him and excited that he was home, says Hulsey.

She says Koprince is home tonight, but in a better place.

"We're going to miss him, but we know we'll see him one day," Hulsey adds.