A man credited with saving the lives of two teens, at the cost of his own, was a Marine Corps veteran, purple heart recipient and recent employee of John Jay High School.
Rodney Buentello was spending Wednesday afternoon with his family at Bandera City Park when he saw a teenage girl try to walk across a dam and get swept away. A teenage boy jumped after her and that's when Buentello sprang into action, saving both of them.
But he was dragged under by the current.
His family said that he didn't think twice before jumping into the water after the two teens.
"His last breath, he pushed the boy towards EMS," Buentello's father said.
"When the boy got up there, the water took him under," said his brother-in-law, William Vaughn.
That final act of bravery was symbolic of his heroism. Buentello served 20 years in the Marines, including three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Marines sent KENS 5 a list of nearly 40 military decorations.
"He went into the Marine Corps to try and emulate me. He far exceeded," said Buentello's father, Raul Buentello.
A father of three boys, family meant everything to Buentello according to his loved ones. He coached his children in sports and after retiring from the Marines was hired as an instructional assistant football coach at John Jay High School in 2013. He resigned from the school on good terms in May. He left to pursue another job opportunity, according to his father. .
NISD also said that Buentello was also a former student at John Jay.
Friends and family took to social media following Buentello's death to express their condolences and admiration for the decorated war hero.
Family members of Buentello shared on Facebook afternoon that there will be a vigil in his honor Thursday evening at 8 p.m. at John Jay High School.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help raise funds for the family of Rodney Buentello. If you would like to donate to the family, CLICK HERE.