The Department of Defense said Saturday that 21-year-old Spc. James A. Butz of Porter died Wednesday in Helmand province. Chesterton football coach John Snyder, who coached Butz in high school, told The Times of Munster that relatives told him that the Army medic was treating an injured soldier when their truck was hit by a roadside bomb.
Butz was a 2009 graduate of Chesterton High School, where he wrestled and played football. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Snyder says Butz was a hard worker who would have thrived in the military.
He learned something about being a medic when he took part in a cadet program with the Porter Volunteer Fire Department.
"We'll do everything that we can to show him the honor that he deserves and the respect for the sacrifice," Craig said. "Just the fact that he's not going to be able to come back to us and be a member...I know from his mentality he would have been a fantastic firefighter."
"He was dedicated, quick to the point," said Anthony Tharp, also of the Porter Fire Department. "He was always out here helping us. Even though he was just new it didn't matter. He wanted to jump on in and take care of business."
Funeral arrangements have not been set.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.