(KMSP) - The St. Paul Saints took some time to honor our first responders this holiday weekend.
On Sunday, Fox 9’s Tim and Naomi were honored to join four men who put their lives on the line every day. For one of those men, the honor is very bittersweet.
Tony Medellin has worked for the Minnesota Department of Corrections at Stillwater for 14 years. Among his friends at the facility was fallen officer Joseph Gomm, who was killed by an inmate back in July.
Medellin was the first person to run to the aid of Officer Gomm, and while he could not save his friend, he secured the room to save others.
Medellin calls Officer Gomm not just a friend, but a mentor.
“He put others before himself and always wanted to make sure others around him succeeded. He was a great cook, animal lover - a great friend and joy to be around,” he said.
Medellin’s efforts to save Officer Gomm is why the St. Paul Saints honored him and three other first responders at Sunday’s game.
“It makes me proud… being recognized for something like this,” Medellin said.
But the honor, he said, goes to his entire prison guard colleagues.
“We’ve pulled together a lot in this. We’ve gotten a lot tighter, we hold our families a lot closer since that day, and we want to be a part of the change going forward. Something good has got to come out of something so terrible,” Medellin said.
It all came on a night when the crowd takes a break to recognize the genuine goodness in our first responders.
“This is my home town, I’m proud to be here. It’s a beautiful day, and I’m happy to be here,” Medellin said.
What makes the story even better is that it was staff at the Oak Park Heights prison who nominated Medellin. Back in June, an officer suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was attacked by an inmate at the facility.