By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)July 28, 2016
For one Fort Leonard Wood Soldier, receiving the Purple Heart in a recent ceremony doesn't make him a hero.
"It really isn't that big of a deal for me to receive (the Purple Heart) to be honest," said Staff Sgt. Timothy Butler, drill sergeant for C Company, 31st Engineer Battalion. "I was really just doing my job, and I hope everything I do in my career affects (the Army) positively."
In 2008, then Pfc. Butler was assigned to 38th Engineer Company, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, in Iraq. While conducting route clearance for an armored Calvary troop, the Buffalo Mine-Protected Clearance Vehicle Butler was in was hit by an improvised explosive device composed of approximately 400 pounds of home-made explosive.
It wasn't until after Butler completed a secondary check of the vehicle that he noticed something wasn't right.
"I began to feel light headed and felt blood coming out of my nose," he said. "I wrote it off, because I had been in multiple prior IED detonations with no harmful effects."
He discovered it wasn't blood, but a clear fluid coming from his nose and ears.
Medical personnel examined Butler after he returned to the forward operating base. That was when the call was made for Butler to be evacuated for medical treatment.
His diagnosis was a traumatic brain injury.
Butler's modest approach to his experience doesn't surprise his current first sergeant.
"I met Staff Sgt. Butler in late 2008 when he was one of my Soldiers at Fort Irwin, California," said 1st Sgt. David Barrera, Co. C first sergeant. "No matter what you throw at this kid, he just handles it well. He bounces back from anything."
Being awarded the Purple Heart is just one of the many Army experiences that led Butler to a place he believes allows him to influence Soldiers for the better.
Butler was first an Advanced Individual Training instructor for Co. A, 554th Engr. Bn., when he arrived to Fort Leonard Wood in 2014.
There he trained Soldiers on the 120M Motor Grader. He said it didn't have the same impact as being a drill sergeant.
"I was an instructor out at Training Area 244, and out there you really didn't see the effect you have on new Soldiers like you do as a drill sergeant," Butler said. "I really enjoy seeing the impact you have on young Soldiers as they begin their Army career."
Being a drill sergeant is the perfect job for Butler, according to Barrera.
"He has a natural leadership presence, and the Soldiers are always motivated and eager to learn when he is training them," he said. "Those are the type of leaders we need in the Army. I'm proud to have him on the team."