Some time ago a friend invited me to meet the Founder & President of ‘Champions of Honour’, a significant men’s network from the USA. I quickly rearranged my schedule and headed over to Gloria Jean’s Coffee Shop to catch up with Chuck Brewster (Chuck being a shortened term for Charles in American terminology).
I must confess that I have a tendency to scepticism for many things that come from America. My ‘bull-dust’ Geiger-counter is usually working overtime at these types of meetings. I am pleased to report that my bull-dust Geiger-counter did not even register. Chuck Brewster is a big guy with a big heart, a deep voice and a heart of gold.
Chuck served for 23 years as a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. He retired from the Secret Service to devote himself to working with men in 1998. His role since has had many incarnations and adjustments, but he is still herding cats as I often say. Working with men is one of the hardest occupations I know. I often say anyone who works with men over a long period of time should have their head examined. Maybe I should be put in an insane asylum?
Chuck had a good hearty laugh when we told him what his nickname meant in Australia (for those non-Australians, ‘chuck’ means to spew the contents of one’s stomach). Most Americans seem to have a hard time laughing at themselves, but Chuck seemed to understand our perverse Aussie humour. One of the other guys at the coffee table paid him a huge compliment when he said, ‘Chuck tells it like it is”.
If it wasn’t for the American accent, we would have thought that we were listening to a straight-talking Aussie men’s group leader.
Chuck Brewster’s Secret Service job was to guard the President of the USA. Only one applicant is accepted in every thousand for this position, and must pass all the gruelling tests. Chuck Brewster was one of the successful applicants. It was his duty to ‘get large’ when trouble or danger came near the president. Chuck recounted a graphic story from when President Regan was shot by Hinckley while leaving his hotel.
One of Chuck’s close friends, a fellow secret service agent, was holding the door of the car open for the president as Hinckley lunged forward with his handgun blazing.
When bullets start firing most men usually dive for cover. Not the men of the USA Secret Service. Years of continual training has taught these men to get large and stand between the bullets and the president, or better still try to destroy the source of danger. Chuck’s friend turned and presented his whole body to the bullets. He took a bullet to the groin.
President Regan had been wounded by a bullet underneath his arm that had lodged very close to his heart, piecing his lung. Regan began to foam blood out of his lung.
Also trained in basic emergency medicine and realising that the president was in danger of bleeding to death internally, the secret service agents rushed him to the hospital.
The president was heard to say as he was wheeled into the emergency unit by a team of surgeons, “I hope you guys are all Republicans”.
The head surgeon wisely replied, “Today all Americans are Republicans”.
Within minutes Chuck Brewster had established a cordon of security around the hospital while the surgeons worked to save the lives of both President Regan and Chuck’s friend who had ‘got large’ in order to protect the President of the United States of America.
The good news is they both recovered and returned to work, and the rest is history.
If you are a father, you are a servant leader for your family. You are also their protector and provider. Your job is to ‘get large’ when your family is threatened with danger. You need to be willing to lay your life down for your family, because if you don’t, who will?
Danger comes in all shapes and sizes: physical, emotional, spiritual and moral. You are the servant leader in your home, just like the Secret Service men who work on behalf of the president. Don’t shrink back from providing the leadership your family needs to survive the challenges of the 21st century.
Yours for more servant leaders,