FORT HOOD — When Ryan Venswencey walked past his father’s room, he noticed Capt. Randy Venswencey had difficulty breathing. With fluids coming out of his mouth and nose, the elder Venswencey, a 41-year-old soldier in the Warrior Transition Battalion, was unconscious.

Ryan, who was 10 at the time of his single father’s congestive heart failure, said discovering his dad unresponsive and incoherent was scary.

“My dad means everything to me,” Ryan said. “It was hard for me.”

On the day of the emergency, Aug. 25, Ryan quickly notified a family friend and Keller police officer, Jonathan Hicks. When he arrived, they called 911.

It was all part of the family’s emergency action plan, which included Ryan taking care of his dad and younger brother, Peter, who was 6 at the time.

Ryan was recognized for his actions Thursday during a graduation ceremony for fifth-graders at Venable Village Elementary School.

The certificate of appreciation Ryan received from the Warrior Transition Brigade said he displayed “heroic, swift action and maturity in a stressful situation that led to him saving (a life)” and “maintained his composure throughout the crisis.”

“I think at a subconscious level I knew (Ryan) was there and I was fighting to live,” said Venswencey, who was in the intensive care unit for three days after arriving at Metroplex Hospital. “He saved my life. The doctor said if he had called one hour later ... I wouldn’t have made it.”

After numerous deployments, Venswency said he was happy to be alive.

“I’ve seen a lot of things and that’s not how I wanted to go out,” he said. “It was reassuring to know that everything worked out according to plan.”

He encourages other parents to devise similar plans for emergency situations.

“How many parents can count on their kids to do something like that?” he said. “If it could be me, it could be anyone.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7549. Follow her on Twitter at KDHreporter.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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