Marshfield soldier played three sports in high school - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Marshfield soldier remembered for playing sports, caring for others

MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -- Those who knew Staff Sergeant Joseph Altmann said they will remember him for his kind heart and determination. He died during an insurgent attack on Christmas day.

For the past seven years, 27-year-old Staff Sgt. Altmann worked as an army medic. He tended to servicemen and women, mending broken bones and bandaging their bumps and bruises. But before that he may have caused some bruises as a linebacker for Marshfield Columbus.

"One time he might have had enough of me and he just went in there and he took a few guys out all by himself for a few plays in a row," said Staff Sgt. Altmann's football coach Adam Yaeger. "He came off the field and I could tell he was hurting a little bit. He just kind of gave me that look like, 'yeah, I did it.'"

Nearly a decade after his graduation, his legacy lingers at his old high school.

"The first year of the co-op was Joey's senior year," said Yaeger. "I don't think he ever wanted to come off the field and we loved that about him."

After the fall football season, he took to the hardwood. During his senior year, his basketball team won the WIAA sectional championship.

"Determination to do well no matter what he was doing," said Staff Sgt. Altmann's band director Thomas Zimmerman. "His care for other people to make sure they did well too, which was the biggest and most impressive thing about him."

Another season brought another sport. In spring baseball was his game. Through out the year, he also played percussion in the band. After one of his tours abroad, Staff Sgt. Altmann wanted to put together a project for children in need that he met on the job.

"Some of the kids now are just concerned with what color iPads they have," said Zimmerman. "He was trying to get notebooks and pens and papers and crayons and other things for the school children over there that those guys don't have at all."

If you page through his school yearbooks, Staff Sgt. Altmann's face is the first one in his class each year -- a smiling reminder of the love he shared with his fellow classmates.

"I'm sure that's the way he was doing his job in the war efforts so they were lucky to have him," said Yaeger. "He's going to be dearly missed."

Staff Sgt. Altmann was also on the homecoming court during his senior year at Marshfield Columbus. His funeral plans have not been finalized yet.

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