BANDERA, Texas (CNN) — Rodney Buentello was already a hero before he died. He was a Marine after all.
But the retired master sergeant once again showed his bravery when he lost his life saving the lives of two teens.
Buentello, a resident of San Antonio, was visiting a city park in Bandera, Texas, on Wednesday with his family when a teenage girl got swept away into a river trying to walk across a dam. A teen boy jumped in the water to save her but began to struggle himself.
Buentello then dove in and saved the teens, but he drowned before he could be rescued, the city of Bandera Marshal’s office said.
He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and was awarded the Purple Heart twice, CNN affiliate KENS reported.
He had also worked at his high school alma mater, San Antonio’s John Jay High School, as an instruction assistant. The school honored him Thursday via a tweet.
The school also hosted a vigil in his honor on Thursday.