BONNERS FERRY, Idaho - A North Idaho soldier killed in action in Afghanistan last week returned home Friday for the final time. Army Spc. Ethan Martin will be laid to rest Saturday at Paradise Valley Cemetery in Bonners Ferry.
Martin was shot and killed by small arms fire August 7. Martin grew up in Bonner's Ferry and went to high school in Lewiston.
Spc. Martin's remains arrived in Sandpoint Friday, on a charter plane from Dover Air Force Base. The Honorable Transfer ceremony marks the return of the soldier to his family.North Idaho soldier returns home for final time
"We're so proud of him, that he gave that sacrifice," said ceremony attendee Tracy Russel.
Bonner and Boundary County law enforcement along with Patriot Guard Riders marked the occasion.
"They do a fantastic job of really paying their respects to the family and the soldier. So we are pleased to have that today," said Idaho National Guardsmen Cpl. Tim Marsano.
Across the tarmac, there was a salute of another kind. When Quest Aircraft heard Martin would be landing Friday, they decided to pay their respects.
"Several people said, 'Do you suppose we could talk the front office into letting us spend several minutes out there,'" said Quest production manager John Thomas.
Every Quest employee lined up for a man they knew in a round about way. They said no one told them they had to but they thought they should.
"Ethan Martin was everybody's brother and everybody's son and everybody's nephew and everybody's cousin. We all have somebody in our lives like Ethan," said Russel.
After the ceremony, Spc. Martin's body was brought to Bonners Ferry in a motorcade, with citizens lining the streets with flags to pay tribute. Spc. Martin's life will be celebrated with a public memorial service Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Bonners Ferry High School. He'll then be laid to rest in a ceremony that is open to the public.