Retired Texas Marine gives his life to rescue two teens from drowning

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Master Sergeant Rodney Lee Buentello. Image via Castle Ridge Mortuary.

Master Sergeant Rodney Lee Buentello. Image via Castle Ridge Mortuary.

BANDERA, Texas — A retired Marine from San Antonio who was twice-awarded the Purple Heart gave his life to save two teens who nearly drowned in Bandera, Texas this week.

According to KENS 5 in Texas, Marine Corps. Veteran Rodney Buentello was spending Wednesday afternoon at a city park with his family when he saw a teenage girl who was trying to walk across a dam get swept into the water.

A teenage boy went in to the water to rescue the girl, which is when Buentello jumped into action. The man reportedly pushed both teens to safety before he was dragged under by the current.

“His last breath, he pushed the boy towards EMS,” Buentello’s father told KENS 5.

According to KENS 5, Buentello served in the Marines for 20 years, during which time he earned nearly 40 military decorations. The father of three was devoted to his family, loved ones report.

According to an obituary for Buentello, the Master Sergeant served four combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Bandera Marshal’s Office posted about the incident on Facebook, saying the Marine was dragged under the water before rescuers could reach him.

The post concludes: “Greater love hath no man, than to lay down his life for another. Semper Fidelis.”

Supporters have created a GoFundMe account to help the man’s family in the wake of the death. That page has raised more than $60,000 as of Saturday.