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World's First Peace Corps Volunteers to Die in Service Honored in Bolivar

BOLIVAR, Mo. - The world's first Peace Corp volunteers to die in service were honored this afternoon in Bolivar.

Dozens braved the cold weather to pay their respects.

Family members of David Crozier and Larry Radley spoke about their brave sacrifices to our country.

David was from West Plains, Missouri, and Larry was from Chicago, Illinois. 

They died together in a plane crash on April 26th, 56 years ago.

David, son of a pharmacist, started serving in 1961.

His sister Nancy Crozier Brown said she tries to look at the positive outcomes of this incident.

"God has a way of making good things happen from bad things," said Brown, "seemingly bad things, brought the Radley's and the Crozier's families closer together."

Don Spiers, the advocacy coordinator at Central Missouri Returned Peace Corps said David originally wanted to go into missionary work.

"He said I would've, but I'm an engineer and I want to do engineering work and they wouldn't allow me to do that in the missionary service," said Spiers, "and so he decided the peace corp was the next best thing to do. The quote is that 'he hopes to be a true American wherever they would send him'."

Larry's brother Gordon Radley and sister Elana Radley also attended and described their experiences being family members of a former Peace Corp member.

"One of the last letters my brother wrote to me, he quoted a philosopher who said 'it's better to live humbly for a cause than to die nobly for one,' and it's somehow ironic my brother and David died nobly because they lived humbly," said Gordon Radley.

"Through their deaths, they demonstrated their total commitment as Peace Corp volunteers to truly share the destiny of the people they have come to serve," Elana Radley said.

Organizers also mentioned a congressional bill, house bill 1295 they hope to pass.

The bill will let families of fallen volunteers use peace corps logos on their gravestones, which currently isn't permitted.


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