Benefit planned for retired Marine who drowned saving two children

Money raised will be used to help Rodney Buentello's widow, two young sons

By Alec Schreck - MMJ/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Yolanda Buentello said she spoke with her son, Rodney, every day. Fifteen minutes after they finished their last phone conversation, her son drowned.

"I love you, and I'm so proud of you. Those were my last words to him," Yolanda Buentello said.

Rodney Buentello drowned in June, while saving two children who had been swept away in the Medina River at Bandera City Park. Rodney's grieving mother and father said their son, a retired Marine, was selfless right up to his final breath.

"He's always thinking about others," Yolanda Buentello said.

Rodney’s father, Raul Buentello, who like his son is a retired Marine and Purple Heart recipient, echoed similar sentiments.

"He was just that way. He liked to help others. He didn't think about himself, always giving," Raul Buentello said.

The Buentellos had a scheduled meeting with a nonprofit group on Thursday evening to finalize plans for a benefit planned for Sunday to help deal with the financial stresses that come along with death. 

"It's hard on my daughter-in-law because that was my son there," Raul Buentello said.

Rodney Buentello's parents, who are of retirement age, said they've offered to help their son's widow, Lisa Buentello, as well as their grandchildren.

Rodney Buentello's father said his son died doing what he knew how to do best — fighting to save the lives of others. His mother said she still can't believe her son is gone.

"I'll miss him very much, very much. He's our hero," Yolanda Buentello said.

The benefit will be held Sunday from noon until 10 p.m. at VFW Post 8541 on 2222 Austin Hwy.

Tickets to purchase brisket sandwiches or spaghetti plates are available in advance online or at the door. 

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