OnFocus – Christmas is a joyous time of year for many, but for the Altmann family, it is also a time to remember a lost loved one.
Nine years ago on Christmas Day, Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Altmann was killed in action in Afghanistan. Today, a light display pays tribute to the fallen soldier at his grandparents’ home outside of Marshfield.
On Rainbow Ridge, a small cul-de-sac west of Marshfield off of County Highway Y, there are about a dozen houses decorated with lights and brightening up the sky.
Altmann’s grandparents, James and Gerrie Altmann, are one of the houses on this street. They started decorating their house when they moved out to the small community 14 years ago. Since then, displays have become bigger and brighter – and this year is the biggest year yet.
Outside of James and Gerrie’s house, there is a tree that is covered in red, white, and blue lights. Next to the tree is a large snowman with an army hat to represent Joseph and his nickname, Snowman.
Though they are in their mid-80’s, the Altmann’s don’t hold anything back when decorating. Both the outside and inside of their house is adorned with meticulously placed Christmas decorations. Last year, the Altrusa Holiday Home Tour came through the Altmann residence and Gerrie said it was a huge success.
This year, the neighborhood is also hosting a donation box for non-perishable food items to be donated to a local food pantry.
Gerrie said they wanted to add something new this year and the food drive was the perfect way to do that.
“We talked about a food drive for how many years and we haven’t done it,” Gerrie said. “We talked to some of the neighbors and they thought it was a good idea so we decided it would be a nice thing to do a food drive with it.”
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