Chesterton Tribune

Jim Butz 'played bigger than he was'

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Jim Butz was a little undersized for a lineman but “he played bigger than he was.”

CHS Trojan Coach John Snyder remembered Jim today as a boy—as a man—who played his heart out and whose heart was always in the right place.

“As a coach you want to have a group of kids who work together,” Snyder said. “Jim did everything you asked of him, in the weight room, on the field. He always put the team first. In wrestling, he was very strong. He wrestled low to the ground. When you walked onto the mat, you know you were in for a match.”

And that Butz, a medic with the 82nd Airborne Division, died in Afghanistan on Sept. 28 while rushing to give aid to two fallen Marines doesn’t surprise Snyder at all. “He put his friends first. He was very loyal. And he was doing what he wanted to be doing. It’s some kind of comfort knowing that they’re doing what they want to do and doing it for every other American.”

For CHS Principal Jim Goetz, the news on Friday morning of Jim’s death imparted new and sorrowful meaning to the daily Moment of Silence and recitation of the Pledge. “We do it everyday,” he said. “It’s something maybe you take for granted. Go through the motions. I’m as guilty of it as anyone else. But it truly does mean something. I asked everyone not to go through the motions anymore and keep Jim in our thoughts and all the other soldiers who have given their lives for this country.”

The Butzes, Goetz added, are “a pretty cool family,” a tight-knit family. “Mom, Dad, Grandpa, I don’t think they ever missed anything their kids did.”

Visclosky Honors Jim

U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, released the following statement this morning: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of James Butz in Afghanistan. A true hero, Jim lost his life while helping the wounded, and he, his family, friends, and fellow soldiers remain in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. The immense courage and patriotism that Jim exhibited serving his country are inspiring. We truly owe Jim, and all of our troops, our eternal gratitude for their endless sacrifices to protect our freedom.”


Posted 10/3/2011