A former Allen County man has become the second Elida High School graduate to die in Iraq.
Capt. Dennis Pintor, 30, was killed Tuesday when an improvised explosive went off in the roadside while he was riding in a lead vehicle of a convoy, said Lillian Abelita, of Lima, a close family friend.
"He was one of a kind," Mrs. Abelita said. "I hate to brag, but there was not a life he touched that was not better for it.
"On Monday, he e-mailed the Lima News asking for help to give the Iraqi children school supplies, and he died the next day. His last wish was for the Iraqi children. It wasn't even for himself," she said.
Family members, beginning with Captain Pintor's wife, Stacy, and young daughter at Fort Hood, Texas, were notified of his death on Wednesday. Army officials did not respond to requests for information about Captain Pintor yesterday.
A 1992 graduate of Elida High School northwest of Lima, Captain Pintor graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1998.
He had been stationed in Iraq since March with the 20th Engineer Battalion B from Fort Hood.
"He was a commander, so he was in the lead vehicle and the first one to hit the bomb," Mrs. Abelita said. "There were three of them in the first vehicle, and his [unit] was right behind them."
She said Captain Pintor was dedicated to the military and planned one day to return to West Point as a professor.
"He loved what he did. This is what he wanted to do," Mrs. Abelita said. "His mind and body and soul were in it. He wanted to serve his country."
Last year, Staff Sgt. Aaron Todd Reese, 31, became the first Ohio National Guardsman to die in Iraq. A 1990 graduate of Elida High School, Sergeant Reese died Dec. 10, 2003, when he fell from a patrol boat on the Tigris River south of Baghdad.
Allen Clum, a guidance counselor at Elida High School, recalled having Captain Pintor in his advanced math class.
"He was a strong student, a good kid, good family, kind of the whole thing," Mr. Clum said. "He was active in tennis and soccer and was just a good kid."
Only "a handful" of Elida graduates have gone on to West Point, he said, which is extremely competitive. "It's a pretty big honor to gain admittance there," he said.
Mrs. Abelita said Captain Pintor planned to be home to serve as her son's best man at his wedding in December.
The captain's parents, Alberto and Ellen Pintor, sold their Elida home this summer and retired to the Philippines, where Alberto Pintor was born. They have three other children.
Mrs. Abelita said she has contacted Lima area school districts asking for their help in gathering school supplies to send to Iraq. She wants to make sure Captain Pintor's last wish is fulfilled.
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