Joe C. Sanders: A true hero

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004


That is the one word that comes to mind when you consider the life of former Butler County Sheriff Joe Columbus Sanders.

He showed his courage truthfully on Monday, Feb. 11, 1991 when he negotiated with a gunman in the Butler County Courthouse to release hostages from the courtroom. The gunman then shot the sheriff striking him in both legs.

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In the years that followed Sheriff Sanders would go back to work, but he would always remember those fearful hours as the state’s media poured into town, capturing the drama of something that simply wasn’t supposed to happen here.

As paramedics rushed Sanders from the scene that day, he told reporters that he wasn’t trying to be a hero; he simply wanted the people moved out safely.

Since leaving office, Sanders continued to show courage.

In recent years, he fought bravely against cancer.

He never complained or truly told how much he suffered.

Instead, he was more concerned about the welfare of others.

That was his way.

So Butler Countians should always remember Sanders for his courage.

The courage he showed in conquering his own fears that day in 1991 when he dared go where angels feared to tread.

We should remember his strength. Because of his fortitude, intelligence and fearlessness, he was the sole victim that day.

We should then remember the strength he showed battling cancer.

His example should lead us all.

Remember his dedication not only to his wife Nelda and his family, but also to his dedication to his church and his county.

Remember him for his compassion for others.

Above all, simply take a moment today to remember him.

He was a good and just man, a protector, a tower of strength, a friend, a father, a husband and an asset to the county he loved. Rest in peace.