Final farewell for fallen Marshfield soldier - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Final farewell for fallen Marshfield soldier

MARSHFIELD (WAOW) -- Friday marked the final farewell for a fallen Marshfield soldier. Staff Sergeant Joseph Altmann died in an insurgent attack on Christmas day. He had been serving his third tour of duty as an army medic.

A sea of red, white and blue filled the city of Marshfield. It was all in memory of Staff Sgt. Altmann -- the hometown hero.

"The night when I heard he was dead, I sort of got a tingle in my tummy," said Staff Sgt. Altmann's nine-year-old cousin Sydney Mauritz. "I was really sad that night."

Mauritz said she misses her favorite cousin. A week and a half after his death, Altmann's friends and family try to find closure at a Marshfield church. Inside -- there was not a single empty pew.

"It's really touching that everyone's coming together," said one of Altmann's childhood friends Daniel Hastreiter. "That was phenomenal to see everyone was there to support not only him but the family."

In death, loved ones remember his life and the ways he touched theirs.

"There was usually no chairs because all the grown ups take them so I just sit on someone's lap," said Mauritz. "And when Joe was there, I usually sat on his."

"When we were kids, we used to go out to his parent's land spend all day in the woods messing around, doing everything the kids would do," said Hastreiter. "It was that kind of friendship that brought us together closer and we never lost that."

"He was a medic to help people," said Mauritz. "If they got hurt, he'd help them patch up. He's like a doctor and when I grow up, I want to be a doctor."

Even though they won't be able to see Joe anymore, his friends said his memory will live on.

"If you're lucky, you would meet someone like him in your life," said Hastreiter. "I was fortunate enough to have him as a very good friend through my whole life and through all of his life. Just knowing him was a pleasure and anyone who knew him would tell you the same thing."

Staff Sgt. Altmann's parents said they appreciate the overwhelming support from their friends and family in the community.

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