SIDNEY – Hundreds of people lined Fair Road on Saturday night as a procession returned the body of Tristen Allen Carlson, a 2016 Sidney High School alumnus, to Sidney.
The 21-year-old Carlson was an active duty senior airman of the 341st Security Forces Squadron stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base near Great Falls, Montana.
Capt. Jeff Newton from the Great Falls Police Department told WDTN that Carlson was found shot in a residence in the 2300 block of 14th Avenue South at approximately 2:30 a.m. Feb. 2. His body was found by his friends.
Carlson’s father, Mark Carlson, wrote a letter to the editor to the Sidney Daily News that thanked community members for their support and welcoming his son home.
“My family and I wanted to express our deepest gratitude to the fine residents of Sidney and its surrounding communities,” Mark Carlson wrote. “Everyone should know that we all live in a community that responds with love and care when the darkest hours are upon us. The smallest to the largest of thoughtful acts touched us tremendously and is not lost on us.”
Chris North, executive director of the Shelby County Veterans Services Commission, said it was important for the community to show support for Carlson’s service and support for his family during this tragic time.
“It was amazing,” North said of Saturday’s procession into Sidney. “This community is always amazing when it comes to supporting veterans, and they showed it on Saturday again.”
After a community member reached out to suggest a homecoming, the Veterans Services Commission worked with the Sidney Police Department, Sidney Fire Department and Adams Funeral Home to organize a procession into the city. A motorcade escorted Carlson’s body and was greeted by community members, veterans, and flags placed along the road by the Shelby County Historical Society.
“It was a somber feeling,” said Sidney High School football coach Adam Doenges, one of the people who lined the street.
Carlson played football and baseball during his time at Sidney High School and was remembered by his coaches as a great person who always worked hard.
“He was just an unbelievably great kid,” Doenges said. “He earned everything he ever got as far as playing time and things in school.”
Sidney High School baseball coach Thomas Goffena said Carlson’s work ethic set a great example for his teammates.
“The main thing that sticks out about Tristen is just how much of a leader he was on the team,” Goffena said. “His maturity level was so much more advanced than everybody else.”
Both Doenges and Goffena said they never had to worry about Carlson getting in trouble, something they both attributed in part to his upbringing.
“Tristen just believed in hard work and being humble,” Doenges said. “He got that from an outstanding family.”
Each year Goffena talks with the seniors on his team about their goals in life, and he remembered the passion Carlson had when talking about his future in the military.
“He was pretty proud and pretty confident of going into the military and serving his country,” Goffena said.
In a Feb. 4 post to the Malmstrom Air Force Base Facebook page, Col. Jennifer K. Reeves, commander, 341st Missile Wing, offered condolences and aid to grieving airmen.
“Multiple tragic events recently have made this is a very rough time for our Wing One family,” Reeves wrote. “I can’t begin to voice the sadness in my heart.”
Carlson is survived by his wife, Danielle Nicole (Farrell) Carlson, whom he married on Dec. 19, 2017, and their daughter, Addilyn Rose Carlson. He’s also survived by his father, Mark Allen Carlson; mother, Laura Michele (Frey) Carlson; brother, Airman First Class Ethan Carlson; sister, Hannah Carlson; and others.
Family will receive friends from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday at Sidney First Church of the Nazarene, 1899 Wapakoneta Ave., Sidney. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the church. Sidney American Legion Post 217 and the United States Air Force will render military honors following services.
Arrangements are in the care of Adams Funeral Home, 1401 Fair Road, Sidney.
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