Yesterday marked the 100th Birthday celebration of President Ronald Reagan. I did not vote for President Reagan, twice, but I thought that he was a personally wonderful guy and an absolutely great politician. In fact, I believe that President Obama has many of Ronald Reagan's attributes - good rhetorical skills, a solid presence and wonderful smile. The only attributes that seem to be missing from President Obama are executive experience and personal warmth. Ronald Reagan was a very warm guy and he exuded his love of people. I did not vote for President Obama, either.
A Leo High School wrestler from the Class of 1967, Tim McCarthy* of St. Denis Parish, saved the life President Reagan.
This is from a CBS Interview with Tim McCarthy in 2004.
Video of the event shows McCarthy throwing himself in front of the president; he was shot in the right chest. Syler pointed out that "it would seem that one's natural reaction would be to duck. And yet, you jumped in front of the president. Was that as a result of the training you go through?"
McCarthy replied: "That's exactly right. If you saw the big picture out there, a lot of people – police officers, military -- were ducking and looking for cover. That's the training that they received. They did exactly what they should have done.The day he was leaving the hospital with his wife and a couple of his children, the family got word that the president would like to see them. Mrs. Reagan also was there.
"We had a nice visit," McCarthy recalled. "The president was commenting about he was going to miss springtime in Washington, the Cherry Blossom Festival. We had a real nice conversation. My kids were young, 2 and 4, getting restless. They didn't understand the significance of any of this. I was just about to walk out the door. We'd said our goodbyes. I was right at the door.
"He said, 'Tim, hold on a minute. Wait a minute. Listen. It was McCarthy, Reagan, (Washington police officer Tom) Delehanty, (White House press officer Jim) Brady. What the hell did this guy have against the Irish?' You have to wonder if the leader of the free world could already maintain a perspective on this, as serious and critical as it was, he certainly had gotten over it already, and it was a great example for me to get beyond this and move on."
On June 10, 2004, the day before Mr. Reagan's funeral, McCarthy had the opportunity to visit Mrs. Reagan.
"She looked great, under a great deal of stress, as you can imagine," said McCarthy, though he declined to give details about their private conversation.
"We talked about the president quite a bit," he said. "We talked about the fact that, over the last number of years, she has been there almost day and night with the president, and what it was like.
Tim McCarthy - American Hero.
Timothy J. McCarthy (born June 20, 1949) is the current police chief of Orland Park, Illinois and a former member of the United States Secret Service. He is most famous for turning into the line of fire, shielding President Ronald Reagan and being wounded by one of John Hinckley, Jr.'s .22 caliber bullets in the 1981 Reagan assassination attempt. Surgeons at George Washington University Hospital successfully removed the round from McCarthy's abdomen, and he fully recovered. McCarthy received the NCAA Award of Valor in 1982 in recognition of his bravery.
After Hinckley began to fire, McCarthy deliberately put himself in the line of fire and spread his body in front of Reagan to make himself a target. Although all Secret Service agents are trained to take a bullet for the President, only four have actually done so. Besides McCarthy, officer Leslie Coffelt of the Secret Service Uniformed Division was killed during the 1950 Truman assassination attempt, the others, Donald Birdzell and Joseph Downs, were also shot during the Blair House attack of 1950.
McCarthy graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and joined the United States Secret Service shortly thereafter.
His career included eight years assigned to the Presidential Protective Division in Washington D.C. and fourteen years as a criminal investigator in Chicago. McCarthy was the Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service Chicago Division from 1989 until his retirement in October 1993.
McCarthy has served as Chief of the Orland Park Police Department since May 1994, and, in 1997, he unsuccessfully ran for Illinois Secretary of State as a Democrat. In 1999, he earned a Master of Science degree in criminal/social justice from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois.
He is married and has three children.
McCarthy also played football at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently Orland Park Police Chief.