Soldier from Newfane Dies in Texas

July 17, 2013 Updated Jul 17, 2013 at 6:56 PM EDT

By Rachel Elzufon

...
July 17, 2013 Updated Jul 17, 2013 at 6:56 PM EDT

Newfane, NY (WKBW) - Loved ones of a Newfane soldier who drowned in a swimming accident outside of Fort Hood, Texas are remembering him as a local hero.

25-year-old Pfc. Christopher Kentz Heinz drowned on Sunday at Stillhouse Hollow Lake in Texas.

Friends say what they cherish the most about Heinz -- his ability to make people laugh.

"Just the jokes and how he was -- he was just goofy and funny. He would always make you laugh no matter what," says Shane Woods, who had been best friends with Heinz since the fifth grade.

Heinz grew up in Newfane and played football at the local high school.

In the last year, he married his girlfriend from Lockport. Friends say he wanted to start a family and was extremely devoted to those in his life.

"I would trust him with my credit card and my pin number and know he wouldn't use a penny of it," Woods says. "You could just count on him for anything. And if he couldn't do it, he'd find a way to do."

Heinz enlisted in the U.S. Army in January of 2012 as a combat engineer. He was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas.

"he just wanted to make a difference in his life and he decided the army was the way to go," Woods says.

Woods and another best friend of Heinz joined the military afterwards. Woods says Heinz treated him like a little brother. Even from thousands of miles away, he always offered advice.

Now a Facebook page serves as a memorial for Heinz. It has more than 11-hundred likes.

During his year and a half in the Army, Heinz was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.

It is unclear if the drowning took place during a training exercise or not. Fort Hood representatives did not return our call for a comment.

According to the Facebook page, the Showing for Heinz is Sunday June 21st at the Rutland Corwin Funeral Home from 2-4 and 7-9 pm.

The funeral service will be at the Grace Bible Church in Newfane on July 22nd at 11 am.