Man earns Medal of Valor after jumping into action during street fight

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The workday was done for Stephen and Rosalie Madrigal and the only thing between them and a three-day weekend was a soggy drive home.

The workday was done for Stephen and Rosalie Madrigal and the only thing between them and a three-day weekend was a soggy drive home.

After they stopped to rent a movie, a street fight came into view.

"One of them was taking repeated blows to the head and falling into traffic, over and over," said Stephen Madrigal. "I just thought to myself 'I just have to do something,' so I just bolted out of the car. My intention was just to wrap the guy up who was hitting the other guy."

Madrigal thought breaking up the fight would be the end of it and the attacker would run away. He didn't.

As Madrigal accidentally knocked the attacker and himself to the ground, the original victim became the attacker.

As he lunged at the other man and stabbed him several times, he nearly cut off Madrigal's thumb.

Despite the injury, he calmed both men down by the time police got there.

He was back at work at Covered California on Monday.

"I mean I had this humongous thumb cast, you know, but I was still able to do my regular job on the systems," said Madrigal.

This month, Governor Jerry Brown's office presented Madrigal with the Governor's Medal of Valor Special Service Award, an award for state employees who go above and beyond the normal call of duty or service, performed at personal risk to his or her safety, to save human life.

Madrigal says what he did pales in comparison to some of the other stories of bravery.

"It was awe-inspiring to hear some of these stories and to be part of that day and I feel humbled."

The mild-mannered Madrigal was one of just two people who received a Medal of Valor award this year who does not work in law enforcement.

His wife, Rosalie, says it is proof anyone can be a hero if they will step up when their moment comes.
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