Many are calling Rodney Buentello a hero because the retired Marine master sergeant gave his own life to save the lives of two Texas teens who were drowning. Buentello, a Marine Corps veteran and a two-time Purple Heart recipient, was spending the afternoon at Bandera City Park Wednesday with his wife and two children when he noticed that two teens were trapped in a strong undercurrent in a dam, Fox News reports.
According to information released by the Bandera Marshal’s office, one of the teens was trying to walk across a park dam illegally when she was swept away by rushing water. The other teen went into the water to help her, but he got stuck as well. Upon seeing the teens’ predicament, the military vet wasted no time and immediately dove in the water to rescue them.
Buentello came to the rescue and managed to get both teenagers back on dry land. Although the Good Samaritan managed to save the lives of the two teenagers, he paid with his own life after he was pulled under the dam’s rapid moving waters. By the time rescuers reached him, Buentello had already drowned.
Following the tragic incident at Bandera City Park, which is located approximately an hour northwest of San Antonio, Buentello’s father gave the following words to reporters with KENS 5.
“His last breath, he pushed the boy towards EMS,” Raul Buentello said.
“When the boy got up there, the water took him under,” his brother-in-law, William Vaughn, added.
A release from the Marine Corps revealed that Buentello had spent time working as a Marine recruiter in San Antonio and the training chief and class instructor for Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron in Iwakuni, Japan.
In addition to being a highly decorated Marine and educator, Buentello was described as a dedicated family man who loved his family. The 42-year-old leaves behind his wife and three children, all of whom witnessed the tragic incident unfold.
“He lost many Marines in his arms,” his wife, Lisa, said. “Seeing any young person in need, he would do whatever he could to take care of them. He tried to live life to save other people.”
This is Retired Marine Master Sgt. Rodney Buentello. He died recently saving drowning teens. An amazing man.???????????????????????????????? pic.twitter.com/snID1XtbsH— Semper Fi Media (@MediaSemperFi) June 10, 2016
According to Express News, Bandera deems the area near the dam hazardous, and by city ordinance it is “closed to all swimming, wading or boating.”
Violators who disregard posted warnings can be fined up to $200. The Marshal’s Office said the reporting officer had been instructed to issue the surviving teen a fine.
Meanwhile, more than $30,000 has been raised for the family of the deceased Buentello, who served once in Afghanistan and twice in Iraq. Friends and family were devastated at Buentello’s death, and they expressed their condolences via Facebook with the following posts.
San Antonio Jr Mustangs wrote:
“The SAJM family mourns the loss of Mr. Rodney Buentello, a wonderful father, husband, decorated Marine, and local hero. May he rest in peace and God be with his wife and kids at this moment of tragedy. Please keep the Buentello family in your thoughts and prayers. #11”
Angel Garcia wrote:
“Surreal. Please pray for his family and for everyone that is in pain over this. I served with Rodney Buentello from 93-97. He was an outstanding Marine and an even better friend. Until we meet again Rana.”
Jesus Martin Rivera wrote:
“It is with great sadness from Bobby Curtis that he has reported that retired MSgt Rodney Buentello, has passed away after attempting to save two teenagers near a dam in south central Texas. Let us pray for his family and loved ones during this trying time.”
I just read this from a 3/4 Lima post…”
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