Fallen Wilmington soldier's family releases statement
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – The wife of a Army soldier from Wilmington killed in Afghanistan earlier this week released a statement Friday.

Sgt. T.J. Butler died Monday in Khost after a suicide bomber drove a motorcycle into a crowded market.

Butler's wife, Holly, released the following statement:

Sgt. Thomas Jefferson Butler, IV, T.J., was the most proud and devoted husband and father, and a loving brother and son. He was the truest friend and would do anything he could for anyone. He is not only our hero, but a hero for this country he so bravely and proudly served.

Family was very important to T.J. His mother, Leslie, and father, Thomas, beam with pride when talking about their son. He enjoyed spending time with his younger brother and strived to be the best role model for Adam. T.J. and I first met in 2006 towards the end of his senior year at Topsail High School, and we were married in November of 2008. He was such a true blessing in my life and I have always said what a dream it was to be able to marry my best friend.

T.J. is and always will be the love of my life and my soul mate. After high school, T.J. set his eyes on his dream of becoming a law enforcement officer, serving and protecting our family and all those in the community where he would work. He attended Cape Fear Community College and joined the Army National Guard in hopes that this would pave the way to his future career.

T.J. loved to play every kind of sport. Whether he was fishing, golfing, playing basketball, or bowling, he was just happy to be playing something. He strived to become the best at everything he did. He especially loved bowling, and this was something we enjoyed doing together, as well as with our family and friends. T.J. bowled several 300 games and an 809 series.

While T.J. was passionate about reaching his goals and his dream career, nothing was more important to T.J. than our family. More than anything he wanted to provide for us and give my son and me a good life. Anyone who knew T.J. knew that he was proud to serve his country and was so very thankful for the opportunities being in the service had given us.

T.J. truly enjoyed life and was a joy to all who knew him. He always had a smile on his face and wanted to make the most of every minute he had with me and with our son. There are not words to express how greatly T.J. will be missed.

T.J. will forever be with us, and our son will always know what a brave hero his father was, how he gave everything to whatever he put himself into, and how deeply he loved us.

The family and I would like to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers that have been conveyed to us.

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THOMAS JEFFERSON BUTLER IV

I THANK YOU FOR YOUR ULTIMATE SACRIFICE FOR OUR COUNTRY. I THANK YOUR FAMILY ALSO FOR THEIR SACRIFICE, MAY GOD'S GRACE ENBRACE THEM AND GIVE THEM COMFORT AND PEACE.

JOHN 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

I SALUTE YOU SGT. T. J. BUTLER IV

North Carolina is Proud to have a Son such as TJ. He will be surely missed. Best wishes and God Bless You.

I'm so, so sorry for your loss. I didn't know TJ personally, but through your post, I almost feel like I did. To all of TJ's family, please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank you, not only for the sacrifice TJ made, but also for the sacrifice each and every member of his family had to make also. I'm sure TJ would be so proud of all of you! God bless you.

Thank you for your service, Sergeant Butler.

I had the pleasure of teaching TJ from Kindergarden through graduation. I watched him grow and become the great young man that he was. He always had a shining smile, and a kind word for you. My heart breaks for your family as you deal with this tragic loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. TJ truely was a hero in more ways than one and when his little boy gets older the stories he hears about his dad will let him know that his dad was a hero too. My thoughts are with you and you are in my prayers.

TJ and Adam was everything to my brother and his wife. TJ ment the world to his whole family. I am so heart broken

Words cannot convey the appreciation and sorrow felt for the sacrifice you're family has made so that mine can be free. Continue on with the strength you show in your words and cherish the memories of your best friend.

I second Kelly's comments. May he rest in peace. Thank you sir, for keeping us safe.