Flagstaff, AZ – Army Staff Sergeant Eric Lindstrom, a former Flagstaff police officer, will be remembered July 23 at a memorial service in Flagstaff. He was killed in Afghanistan last week. Lindstrom leaves behind a wife and seven-month-old twin daughters, and his parents Kathy and Ric. Arizona Public Radio's Laurel Morales has this story.
Eric Lindstrom came home Tuesday. Many people - some who knew him, many who didn't - stood along the road to honor him. Scott Leppla was one of them. He has a brother serving in Iraq.
LEPPLA: People who contribute like that to our community are hard to find. I just think they deserve the respect and I could spend my time showing that to his family for his sacrifice.
SFX: Horns honk
It looks like the Fourth of July. People of all ages stand holding flags, wearing red, white and blue. But instead of a parade they're waiting for a soldier who was killed by gunfire during a military operation in Afghanistan.
ADDISON COOPER: Mama!
Tracy Cooper amuses her toddler while they wait.
TRACY COOPER: My husband is a veteran of the Iraq War and I feel a strong connection with Eric Lindstrom and the family. My heart and prayers go out to the family. He worked with my husband over at Flag PD.
Cooper's husband is in the procession.
Dada! Where's dada? Is dada comin'?
In the distance you can see the flashing lights of a police car. Suddenly it's quiet. Traffic has been blocked off.
SFX: procession passing
A procession of 60 vehicles, the Lindstrom family, friends, and former co-workers escort Lindstrom's body to the mortuary. A veteran standing nearby salutes. A woman puts her hand over her heart.
(Fade out procession)
Former Flagstaff Police Sergeant Tom Boughner says he was impressed with the number of people who showed their support.
BOUGHNER: There will be time for editorials and protests for this or that afterwards but we would always honor a homecoming hero.
Boughner helped train Lindstrom when he first came on board the Flagstaff police department.
BOUGHNER: Both professions he chose are professions where you run towards gunfire. I think that says a lot about Eric right there. He wasn't afraid to engage when needed. Things that weren't necessarily convenient or easy but willing to engage.
Boughner knows Eric's dad Ric who worked for the Flagstaff Police Department as well.
BOUGHNER: His dad has the computer on all the time trying to keep up with Eric's unit what they were doing. Awful lot of pride in his son for that I'm also truly sorry.
I spoke with the family but they did not wish to be recorded. His mother Kathy said Eric believed in what he was doing. He believed it completely. He served a tour of duty in Iraq prior to joining the police department. Then he returned to the Army and was sent to Afghanistan.
Eric loved hiking. He took his wife Tara to the top of the San Francisco Peaks and to the bottom of Grand Canyon. Tara says he was just happy outdoors.
He was also happy to be a father. Eric had already been deployed but came back to Fort Drum, New York, to meet his twin daughters soon after they were born. Kathy Lindstrom says her son was a proud father. She says he was looking forward to coming home and being a daddy to his girls.
For Arizona Public Radio I'm Laurel Morales in Flagstaff.