A hero's welcome for fallen Marshfield soldier - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

A hero's welcome for fallen Marshfield soldier

MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -- The community of Marshfield came together to remember a man they call a true hero. A visitation was held on Thursday for Staff Sergeant Joseph Altmann. The Marshfield Columbus graduate was killed in Afghanistan during an insurgent attack on Christmas day.

Friends and family members of Staff Sgt. Altmann gathered at the Central Wisconsin Airport on Thursday morning. Their selfless soldier was coming home.

"He was always the last person he ever thought about," said family friend Jesse Langston. "He was always making sure everyone was okay, making sure his family and Nikki [his wife] came first."

Six soldiers escorted Altmann's body from the plane. Their steps marked his journey that was almost complete. The Staff Sergeant's family and friends traveled with him from Mosinee to Marshfield. They were met with a hero's welcome.

"When he came into town, there were grandparents and children that could barely walk waving American flags as he drove through town," said family friend Kammi Harraid. "That itself just lets us know that he left an impression on everyone he touched."

A community -- touched by the loss of one of their own -- reached out to the Altmann family with kind words on banners up around town.

American flags lined the sidewalks at Altmann's alma mater. A visitation, which was scheduled to start at 3PM was already filling with loved ones and friends well before then. Altmann's accomplishments and memories were on proud display. He was surrounded by family during his life and will be remembered by them forever after.

"Anytime Nikki would talk about Joe she would get this bright cheesy grin across her face that was absolutely only achieved through talking about Joe," said Harraid. "Their love and connection to each other and the devotion was just incredible."

The funeral for Staff Sergeant Altmann is Friday morning. It starts at 10:30AM at St. John the Baptist church in Marshfield.

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