“In the Secret Service” by Jerry Parr is excellent biography. I couldn’t put the book down.
As a secret service agent from 1962-1985, Jerry Parr led an adrenaline filled life and met a lot of interesting people. (He was the man who pushed President Reagan into the car on the fateful day he was shot.) This book is brimming with anecdotes, up close encounters, and interesting facts. But what impressed me the most was the depth with which Jerry, with the help of his wife and co-author Carolyn, shares his own life experience, beginning with the boy who longed for solid father figure to the man who dedicated his life to serve and rescue others. There is something about authenticity that calls people to attention. I feel like this book does that for me. The characters he encounters, the truths about himself that he discovers, and the sentimental attention to detail make this a delightfully satisfying read.
This is a powerful narrative of missionary service as well. In the final chapters, after sharing all the exciting stories that come from a man who serves in the White House detail for so many years, Parr tells the remarkable story of how he found his heavenly Father and from the heart pursued a life of dedicated service– outside the realm of the secret service–focused on loving and encouraging others. He sums it up this way: “The impulse to protect and the impulse to bear witness come from the same place. I know those impulses come from God and that God is love.”
Quote from the book:
“I visited the president [Reagan] daily, often more than once at the beginning, and carefully quizzed the shift leaders and medical team about anything unusual. Barbara Benedict was on the floor with him after he left the ICU. She recounted the first time he was well enough to wash himself in the bathroom without help.
He went in, closed the door, and stayed and stayed. She called, “Mr. Reagan, are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” came the answer.
More minutes passed. No sounds from behind the door. Now worried, but loathe to violate his privacy, she tried again. “Mr. President, can I help you with anything?”
No, I’m fine.”
After more minutes passed, she announced, “Mr. Reagan, I’m coming in.”
She discovered the President of the United States on the floor with a towel, wiping up a spill on his hands and knees. Embarrassed, he explained, “I made a mess and didn’t want you to have to clean it up.”