Tuesday night, York County's legislative delegation hired Joe Medlin to be the next veterans services officer.
Ten years ago Tuesday - to the day - Joe Medlin, alone on Dec. 13, 2001, tried to save two people who had been shot in the parking lot of the Moss Justice Center in York.
Medlin said little that night - and rarely does - about himself. He sure did not mention that awful gray cold Thursday morning in December 2001.
That was the day a small, mean convicted felon and repo man named Michael Godfrey was set to appear in court at Moss for harassing his former common law wife over the telephone - a violation of a restraining order.
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Godfrey went into the York County Public Defender's Office, talked a while, then went back outside to the parking lot, where he shot his ex-wife and her grandmother - in the face, at point-blank range.
People in the parking lot ran in terror, screaming. Nobody knew what Godfrey would do next or whether he would shoot whomever he saw next.
The first person among hundreds at that packed courthouse to run immediately toward the fallen Shannon Nicole Thomas and Wilma Thomas was Joe Medlin from the Public Defender's Office.
The trained Army medic ran out into that parking lot, tie flapping, armed with nothing but his courage.
Medlin pulled a cough drop and false teeth from the choking throat of Wilma Thomas. He started CPR. Then he spied her granddaughter, shot, and started jumping from woman to woman, trying to breathe life back into both.
He stuck a finger into a bullet hole in a face, to keep the blood, spurting into the air from a still-beating heart, from escaping.
Medlin went back and forth between the women, until he grabbed a deputy to help one woman while he helped the other. Covered in blood, Medlin refused to stop.
Help arrived. Medlin helped load the ambulance.
Godfrey was caught an hour or so later that day and charged with two counts of murder after both women died.
'Always puts others first'
Medlin did not see Godfrey brought into custody. He drove home that terrible morning, took off his blood-soaked clothes, and took a shower. Then, he put on another shirt and tie and went back to work.
Godfrey soon found out that prosecutors would seek to have him die by electric chair.
Medlin, in early 2003, was given the National Guard's Valley Forge Cross for Heroism - one of the Guard's highest civilian honors.
Medlin, humble and duty-bound, did not go to the presentation ceremony in California. He had what Guardsmen call "drill" that weekend, and was preparing to be deployed to Iraq.
He chose his men over awards.
Godfrey finally pleaded guilty to both murders, received two life sentences with no chance of parole, and will be in prison until the day his cold heart stops beating.
Medlin was not there for the sentencing. He was in Iraq - where he earned a Bronze Star - in 2003 and 2004.
He's currently the command sergeant major - the top enlisted rank - for more than 700 area National Guard soldiers in seven companies of the Army National Guard 178th Engineer Battalion.
Medlin has volunteered with the York County Veterans Council for years and has helped so many soldiers already - including using his own time and money to help a returning combat veteran accused of a crime from going to prison.
Harry Dest, Medlin's boss for years, described his work at the public defender's office as "top-notch."
"There is no finer person to choose," Dest said. "Joe has made that transition himself after combat."
Dest called Medlin's service to the public in both the public defender's office and the military, "extraordinary and exemplary."
"The day of that shooting, Joe's only concern was with those who were hurt," Dest said. "He came back to work afterward, because somebody else needed him."
Medlin knows what veterans deal with in combat and afterward, Dest said, and he has a commitment to helping them.
"We hate to lose one of our most valuable people," he said, "but the veterans of York County gain a champion in Joe Medlin."
Nobody was prouder to vote for Medlin than state Rep. Tommy Pope, R-York. Pope was the York County prosecutor who put Michael Godfrey away in prison for life.
Pope was at the courthouse that day in December 2001 when Medlin acted "heroically" with regard - first and foremost - for the shooting victims.
"I've known Joe for almost 20 years," Pope said, "and this decision is one where people can know they are getting a dedicated man who always puts others first."
Focus on training
Medlin, humble, accepted the veterans job. At the same time, though, he will continue training as a soldier on active duty, with the distinct possibility he will be deployed to Afghanistan.
Office manager at the public defender's office for 10 years, Medlin drove four hours round-trip from Fort Jackson to be at that meeting Tuesday after a day of training. He bought his own gas.
Medlin likely will go to Afghanistan, as a leader of soldiers, then devote himself to a job to help veterans get the benefits they earned in the military.
I asked Medlin why he didn't bring up the courthouse valor in applying for the job as veterans service officer - a competitive job that is a political appointment but is required for each county in South Carolina - or the award he received because of it.
I asked Joe why he didn't bring up anything else about his actions that day that were singular among hundreds of people at that courthouse - including troopers, cops, probation officers and others.
He was being hired by politicians, who claim credit for sunlight and rain, warmth and chicken and dumplings.
"I never thought about it," Medlin said, amazed that someone could be so crass as to brag about trying to save two lives. "I didn't even realize that Tuesday was 10 years to the day. Huh.
"My focus has to be on training, so that not just me, but all soldiers, are ready for deployment."
In Afghanistan, Medlin will be among those responsible for hundreds of lives of men whose kids and wives and parents live in York, Chester and Lancaster counties. He will leave his own family, his own children, to take that responsibility.
That is the kind of person that York County veterans will have to look out for them.
A soldier who won't accept credit, because it is his duty to cover himself with the blood of the dying, and his duty to help those men and women get the benefits each deserves.