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Luzerne County servicewoman who died in Japan returns to area

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FORTY FORT With police, fire trucks and patriotic motorcyclists providing the escort, a local woman who died while serving in Japan with the U.S. Air Force was returned to the area early Tuesday morning. Family, friends and strangers gathered along Wyoming Avenue and outside Wroblewski Funeral Home just after midnight to greet the procession escorting Airman 1st Class Shannon Purcell. Purcell, 18, a 2016 graduate of Wyoming Valley West High School, died May 6 in an accident while off duty near a waterfall in Okinawa, Japan.

Dozens of area motorcyclists heeded the call of veterans advocate Dave Ragan to give Purcell s procession a hero s welcome in the Wyoming Valley.

Tonight I truly witnessed love of a country and good old-fashioned American pride, Ragan, of Blakley, later posted on social media, saying Purcell s family was forever grateful. The airman s obituary says she brought light and peace to the lives of others from all across the world.

Her love, kindness and care for people gave her the unique ability to forge fast friendships that could withstand the test of time. She possessed a genuine concern for every person she encountered throughout her life and she was always ready and willing to extend a helping hand to anyone in need, the obituary says. Although Shannon lived just shy of 19 years, the impact she has made on this world made it all the more beautiful and a much better place! Purcell was assigned to the 18th Munitions Squadron at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa.

Purcell s viewing will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Wroblewski Funeral Home, 1442 Wyoming Ave. in Forty Fort. An additional viewing will be held from 9:15 a.m. until the time of the funeral service on Friday. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at the funeral home, and will be officiated by a military chaplain from the Air Force. Interment will follow in St. Mary s Roman Catholic Cemetery, Hanover Twp., where full military honors will be accorded by the Air Force.

Contact the writer:

[email protected]

570-821-2055, cvbobkal

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