As a journalist, I struggle when I get news like I received yesterday.
The pages of local social media were filled with condolences concerning the passing of Judge Derrick Blanton.
What do you write about a man who operated at the highest levels of character and integrity? What can a few words add to the life so many in our area experienced firsthand?
A Life On Paper
How do you put a narrative as grand as Derrick Blanton’s on paper? Nothing written in print serves.
Derrick loved trains.
In fact, working with a team in Myrtle Beach, Derrick helped save the historic Myrtle Beach train depot.
He graduated from Coastal Carolina University in 1979. They honored him as follows in November 2006:
Derrick Blanton, class of 1979, was named the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. This award is given to a graduate of Coastal who has made a significant contribution to his/her profession or community over a period of time.
Blanton is a magistrate and municipal judge for Surfside Beach. During his years at Coastal, where he majored in history and minored in business administration, Blanton was one of the founders of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and was involved in the History Club.
He earned a juris doctorate degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., in 1991. Blanton is active in the Surfside Area Rotary Club and serves on its board of directors. He was very involved in the Myrtle Beach All Aboard Committee, which saved and restored the old Myrtle Beach train depot. He also headed up the middle school dictionary program and worked as a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Blanton is an enthusiastic supporter of Chanticleer sports.
A FAIR & WISE JUDGE
What I loved most about Judge Blanton was his integrity. The integrity by which he managed a court room, was known county-wide.
Blanton had a natural instinct to limit government overreach.
Famously in 2010, Judge Blanton denied police a search warrant for the home of a St. James High School student accused of making online threats.
“We presented the facts to a judge, but the warrant was denied,” Police Spokesman Robert Kegler said.
Blanton would not agree to an interview with local news, but he did say he didn’t find enough probable cause to issue a search warrant.
“And that’s all I’m going to say,” Blanton said in his office
And that is all he did say. Judge Blanton publicly took the heat and privately knew he was right.
AND THAT IS JUST ONE INCIDENT WHERE HE LIVED OUT BEING A LOCAL HORRY COUNTY HERO TO MANY.
DECIDING TO PUBLISH
I personally struggled with whether to publish this article.
What would the vanity of a few words add to the great man that was Derrick Blanton?
Then, around 3:00 a.m., it hit me.
We do not write about greatness to glorify men like Derrick Blanton.
In this age of everything questioned, Horry County residents need to know that men like Derrick Blanton lived and continue to live.
The life of Derrick Blanton is proof that hope remains for Surfside Beach and Horry County.