As a young boy, I watched “The FBI” starring Efrem Zimbalist Jr., on ABC most Sunday nights. My dream was to become an FBI Special Agent. I first joined the U.S. Air Force out of high school and served five years as a Security Police Officer. I later earned a degree in Criminal Justice from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In 1988, I was chosen to become a Special Agent in the FBI. I served in various roles of increasing responsibility in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, two tours at FBIHQ in Washington, DC and a special assignment in Rome, Italy. I joined the FBI to arrest fugitives and bank robbers, to investigate criminal enterprises and terror organizations – all of which I did. I was the case agent for FBI Top 10 Fugitive #448; I worked long term, deep undercover against the La Cosa Nostra in Las Vegas; I proudly led the FBI’s Undercover Program; and I served as the FBI’s lead during the Pope’s 2008 trip to the United States.
But one case taught me the most about being an FBI Agent. In 1994, a young, three-year-old boy was kidnapped and taken to a foreign country. What ensued was a rather intricate international rescue operation that resulted in the boy’s safe recovery. I still carry the picture of the young rescued boy in my wallet today. It shows his Grandmother crying tears of joy, and he is wearing the FBI hat I had just placed on him as he first arrived in America following his rescue. I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that helping people meant even more than catching the most dangerous criminal or solving the most complex crime. And, that public service is truly and honor and a privilege.
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