American flags, patriotic flowers, cut-out footballs bearing Chesterton High School No. 54 and a sign reading, “Heaven needed a hero, God only takes the best,” adorned the front door of the home where Army Spc. James Butz was raised.
Carrie Napoleon of the Post-Tribune reports:
“Neighbors and strangers filled the sidewalks patiently waiting to pay their respects to Butz, 21, who was killed Sept. 28 in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device while running to the aid of two Marines who were shot in a firefight.”
As Butz’s body was driven past the Porter Volunteer Fire Department, where he had been a volunteer, the marquee read, “In Honor of Our Hometown Hero Jim Butz We Will Never Forget.” Fellow firefighters saluted as he passed by. Butz was then driven past his home, in his hometown of Porter, before reaching the White-Love Funeral Home in Chesterton.
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Others who Butz served with from the Porter Fire Department were in the procession, paying homage to their fellow firefighter and fallen soldier. Captain Branham said, “Jim was a good kid, he was all about wanting to help. He was hard working and eager to learn, but there came a time when he wanted to join the Army and we all supported his decision.”
U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, entered the following statement in honor of Spc. James A. Butz, U.S. Army, into the Congressional Record on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011.
A combat medic with the 82nd Airborne Division, Spc. Butz died while serving his country in Afghanistan on Sept. 28.
“Mr. Speaker: It is with great respect and deep sadness that I wish to commend United States Army Specialist James A. Butz for his bravery and willingness to fight for his country. Specialist Butz was a member of the 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While serving in Afghanistan as a combat medic, on Sept. 28, 2011, Specialist Butz was killed while rushing to assist two wounded Marines when an improvised explosive device detonated, taking his life and the lives of the two Marines. His sacrifice will forever be remembered by those he fought to protect.
“A native of Porter, Ind., James graduated from Chesterton High School in 2009. While in high school, James was a wrestler and football player. Many describe James as very outgoing, happy, smart, and full of energy. After graduating high school in June 2009, James enlisted in the Army. According to his family, James decided in high school that he wanted to join the military. Family and friends remember James as a hard worker who enjoyed military life and thrived in that environment. His plans were to continue his military career and become a registered nurse. For his selfless commitment to the Army and outstanding dedication to his country, James is worthy of the highest praise. For his courage and sacrifice, James has been honored by the military with the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO medal, the Combat Medic Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. Although only a young man, James gained immense respect from those around him, and he was admired in his community. He will be greatly missed and forever cherished by those who loved him.
“Specialist Butz leaves behind a loving family. He is survived by his adoring parents, John and Mary Jane Butz. James also leaves to cherish his memory his brothers, John and William. He also leaves behind many other dear friends and family members, as well as a saddened community and a grateful nation.
“Mr. Speaker, at this time, I ask that you and my other distinguished colleagues join me in honoring a fallen hero, United States Army Specialist James A. Butz. Specialist Butz sacrificed his life in service to his country, and his passing comes as a great loss to our nation, which has once again been shaken by the realities of war. Specialist Butz will forever remain a hero in the eyes of his family, his community, and his country. Thus, let us never forget the sacrifice he made to preserve the ideals of freedom and democracy.”