CHESTERTON, Ind., (CBS) — A soldier from northwestern Indiana died in Afghanistan last week while trying to save others.
Jim Butz, of Chesterton, Ind., was a medic in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, when two Marines were wounded, Butz took action to save lives, but he ultimately lost his own.
“I know he died doing what he wanted to do. He truly did,” Butz’s father, John Butz said.
Outside the Butz family home in Porter, Ind., there are all sorts of signs a soldier lived there. Now, the family of 21-year-old Army Medic Jim Butz is coping with his death.
“He knew there was a risk and we prepared ourselves for the past two years that something like this might happen,” his father said. “We wished it wouldn’t. We wished it wouldn’t happen to any of the soldiers over there.”
Jim Butz enlisted in the Army in 2009 during his senior year at Chesterton High School. This past June, he was deployed to Afghanistan. The medic was killed last Wednesday, while rushing to the aid of injured colleagues, when he stepped on a roadside bomb.
His father said he takes some solace in the heroic circumstances of his son’s death,
“He didn’t hesitate. There was two marines that were down, that were shot – and Jim didn’t hesitate and ran right out to help them.”
In high school, Butz was a wrestler. His decision to enlist surprised his family, but they came to realize that, for Jim, the military life was something of a calling.
“The last time I talked to him, which was about two weeks ago, he said, ‘Dad, I just love my job. I love what I am doing. I’m going to re-enlist.’”
Friends remembered Butz as a winning young man from a large close-knit extended family. Support from each of those friends was helping his parents come to terms with his untimely death in service to his country.
“We loved him very much and we’re proud of the job he did,” John Butz said.
Over the weekend, Butz’s parents traveled to Dover Air Force Base to claim his body. Funeral services are pending.
Family members said that support from their community and their church has been overwhelming and a comfort.