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Updated 9.9: Tyler Vietti’s life will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Sunday at Wynne Price Field in Shasta Lake. The baseball field is at 4230 Vallecito St. Bring chairs or blankets to sit on. The family says that “anyone who loved Tyler is invited” and they encourage people to dress casual – like you’re going to a ballgame.
Updated 9.2: See a message below from Paul Vietti, Tyler’s father.
The north state lost one of its own this week.
Tyler Vietti, a 2006 Central Valley High School graduate and star athlete, died from injuries he suffered while serving in Afghanistan, sources close to the family reported Tuesday afternoon.
For three years Vietti was Central Valley High’s all-league pitcher on the school’s varsity team. And in 2005 Vietti played defensive end for the championship Northern Section football team, the same year he was backup quarterback for the Central Valley Falcons’ team that went on to win the Northern Section’s Division II title.
Seth Twyman, now of Sacramento, got to know Vietti when the two played football together at Central Valley High School during their freshman and sophomore years. Twyman said he always appreciated Vietti’s positive outlook.
“It was always a good thing to see Tyler because he was a real happy guy,” Twyman said.
“He could brighten up your day because he always seemed to be in a good mood. Tyler was a real stand-up guy.”
Others recall Vietti as a handsome young man with an easy smile, someone with many friends, someone who was dependable and who worked as hard as he played. He is remembered as an engaged participant in life who put his whole self into everything he did, whether it was sports, or homecoming tug-o-wars or mugging for a senior prom photo with a friend.
Derrick Ferguson, 21, of Redding, played basketball with Vietti in high school. Ferguson said Vietti was a happy, funny person who liked to make people laugh.
He also had a serious side to him.
“He was an awesome guy, someone you could trust,” Ferguson said. “It’s unfortunate he’s gone now.”
Ferguson said that he hadn’t seen Vietti since the two graduated high school, but he’d seen Vietti’s father a few times since, who gave updates about Vietti’s life.
“His father said Tyler was pretty happy, something about he’d gotten married, and had a kid,” Ferguson said.
In addition to his wife and child, Tyler Vietti leaves his parents, Dawn and Paul, and brothers Danny, Cameron and Eric, as well as scores of other family and friends.
Late Tuesday night Paul Vietti, Tyler’s father who’s worked in broadcast media for many years, said even he was surprised at the north state reaction to his son’s death.
“… It obviously means that Ty had a huge impact in a lot of peoples lives — not just ours,” Vietta said.
“Ty wanted nothing more than to be a hero for his family, and he’s definitely accomplished that. I’ve already been inundated with calls and text messages – and this is before the media even caught on – so we just want to tell everyone thank you for your thoughts, prayers and offers to help. No one really knows what to say, but everyone wants to help. To be honest, I don’t know how to react either – just by telling everyone ‘Thank you and we love you!’ We’ve always been a close family and I know this will just bring us even closer and we will get through this together – day by day. All I know is we are going to head to Ft. Lewis, WA, probably this weekend for a ceremony there, and to see his wife and almost one-year old daughter. Then, when we get back we will hold a public ceremony of some kind. I’ll give you details whenever we finalize them. This is just going so fast … we’re not sure exactly when and where we’re supposed to be right now. Anyway, thanks again and I attached a picture of Ty taken the night his daughter was born.”
Gracious Palmer, Shasta Lake’s mayor, said she was shocked and saddened to hear the news Tuesday of Vietti’s death.
“We thank him for his service to our country,” Palmer said.
“We send our most sincere condolences to his family.”
Palmer, who was preparing for this evening’s Shasta Lake City Council meeting when she heard the news, said she would announce Vietti’s death during the meeting, and recommend an official proclamation in Vietti’s name.
Meanwhile, those who knew Vietti — people like Twyman, his former high school classmate — have their own proclamation.
“Tyler will really be missed,” he said.
“He died for his country, but it sucks that the world lost such a good guy.”
Photos courtesy of the CVHS Alumni Association.