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Mo. state trooper laid to rest

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(Missouri State Highway Patrol)
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Sgt. Joseph G. Schuengel

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

ST. LOUIS – An animal lover, a "chariot of the Almighty," a hero.

That's how friends, family and colleagues remembered Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper Joe Schuengel Wednesday at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis.

Schuengel, a 17-year-veteran of the force, died last Friday when the copter he was piloting crashed in Chesterfield.

Troop C commanding officer Ron Johnson called Schuengel a hero for keeping the copter away from houses.

"Farewell hero, with regret I must now say," Johnson said, "I thank you for letting me take flight with you in God's skies which you now call home."

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was among the hundreds of mourners who gathered at the Cathedral.

Nixon called the state of Missouri a better place because Schuengel had served it. "May he rest peacefully, joyfully in the knowledge that he made a difference in this world," Nixon said during the service.

In addition to his duties as a patrol pilot, Sergeant Joseph Schuengel provided security for Temple B'nai Amoona in Creve Coeur.

B'nai Amoona's rabbi, Carnie Rose, spoke of a Jewish teaching that calls righteous and caring people "chariots of the Almighty."

"It seems to me that our friend, our brother Joseph, he was one of those chariots. He carried goodness and peace and harmony and unity into the world," Rose said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash. No one else was injured.

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