What would cause you to take a bullet for someone?

There’s a news clip that I watched dozens of times on TV.  Every time I saw the clip, I was mesmerized by the immediate reaction of a “random” guy walking with President Ronald Reagan as these events unfolded.  I call him random because no one knew his name before this moment.  Immediately after President Reagan was shot, the actions of this Secret Service Agent would be burned in America’s consciousness forever. 

Cameras were rolling as Tim McCarthy escorted the President back to his limousine after a speaking event at the Washington Hilton to capture this incredible act of courage for the world. The international news broadcasted the images in real-time as John Hinckley, Jr. critically wounded the President, an aide, and his Press Secretary. 

I watched in awe as Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy spread his arms and legs as he stepped between Hinckley’s pistol and President Reagan.  These actions were before the days of slim, sophisticated body armor.  Agent McCarthy turned his body into the largest human shield possible as he was shot in the chest, protecting the President. 

After decades of serving in the US Army and witnessing extraordinary heroism and great personal courage on many battlefields, I’m more inspired than ever by Agent McCarthy’s actions.  It’s very rare when a warrior intentionally steps into the line of fire to protect friends on the battlefield.  After watching Agent McCarthy’s actions on the news and seeing these rare moments on the battlefield firsthand, I learned that only the strongest bond of love drives someone to take a bullet for another human being.  

What an honor to talk with Presidential Secret Service Agent Ken Valentine on Episode 117 of Unbeatable!  Ever since watching that news coverage replay Hinckley’s attack on President Reagan and the actions of Agent McCarthy, I have been inspired by the nameless heroes of the Secret Service Presidential Protection detail.  

(Photo by Shahar Azran/WireImage)

Listening to Ken and his family’s sacrifices for our country during his interview inspires me.  I remain in awe of law enforcement and military servants who put their lives on the line to protect my community and my country.  Our willingness to sacrifice for someone else’s welfare becomes rarer every day.  But you don’t have to serve in one of these professions to learn from Secret Service agents like Tim McCarthy and Ken Valentine.  

Here are five reasons why your willingness to sacrifice for someone else inspires the world.  

1. When we willingly sacrifice for another, we demonstrate the importance of their happiness in our lives. It is an act of selflessness that requires the depth of love to put aside our own needs and focus entirely on the needs of the person we are helping. 

2. Sacrifice is often seen as a difficult and painful act, but when we do it for the people we care about, it becomes a beautiful expression of love. It demonstrates that we are willing to go above and beyond to ensure their well-being, even at the cost of our comfort.

3. The act of sacrificing requires giving up something we value.  What could be more valuable to Agent McCarthy and Valentine than their own life? A willingness to make a great sacrifice for another is a testament to the strength of our relationships.

4. A willing sacrifice for loved ones demonstrates their priority in our lives. It’s saying, “I value you more than anything else, and I am willing to give up something important to me to ensure your well-being.” The greater the sacrifice, the deeper the bond of love it requires.

5. Sacrificing for others is not a sign of weakness but strength. It takes guts to put aside our own needs and desires for the sake of someone else. It shows that we are willing to bear the burden of their troubles and help them through difficult times. And when we do, we strengthen the ties that bind us together.

I hope you were as inspired as I was by the sacrifice of people like Ken Valentine and Tim McCarthy.  Their lifestyle is an example of what’s best about humanity.  

Listen to my recent interview with Ken Valentine about what it’s like in the Secret Service HERE.

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