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Veterans remember fallen officer Matthew Rittner

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- 35-year-old Matthew Rittner dedicated 17 years to the Milwaukee Police Department. He also served our country after graduating from Greenfield High School in 2001.

“When I first heard the name, I remembered right away who Matt was,” Kevin Murphy, Teacher and Coach at Greenfield High School, said.

Murphy coached Rittner in football and wrestling.

“He was a hard worker and he wanted to get better,” Murphy said. “He wanted to improve every day he went on the mat. He wanted to get better grades every day he went into the classroom.”

Matt played football, tennis, and wrestled in high school, and then took his dedication to the U.S. Marine Corp where he served two tours in Iraq.

“You couldn’t ask for a better representation of what a United States Marine should be,” Max Zaruba, a veteran who served with Rittner said. “The Marine Corps bases themselves off of three words honor, courage and commitment and Matt far surpasses that.”

During his time in Iraq, Rittner risked his life every day facing roadside bombs, ambushes and snipers.

“He was driving an unarmored Humvee that we used to call suicide sleds because if you hit an IED in it you were pretty much dead,” Ryan Lackey, a veteran who served with Rittner, said.

But it was in Milwaukee, back at home, where his life was cut short.

“It’s not just for MPD and the City of Milwaukee anymore,” Zaruba said. “This is about the United States of America.”

Rittner is veteran who loved life, his wife, and young son.

“He was that all American golden boy,” Lackey said. “He was athletic, he loved baseball, he liked to BBQ, he loved hanging out with his friends.”

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