BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — I had the opportunity to hear an inspirational story of how a young man from Ensley rose to serve six presidents as a special agent in the U.S. Secret service.
Michael Williams is now retired from the Secret Service. In his first one on one interview since retiring, he spoke to me about his 33-year career in the elite service. Williams hopes that others like him will follow in his footsteps.
He was assigned to presidential detail for four commanders in chief. Michael Williams says, “We shield cover and evacuate our protectee, we take our protectee out of harm’s way, get him to a safe environment and in the course of doing that we are putting ourselves between the assailant and our protectee.”
During his service President, George Bush got to know Michael Williams on a first name basis. This is how Williams described what that felt like.
“It’s an awesome experience when you are briefing the president and the president is calling you by your first name, obviously it’s Mr. President but when he says Mike what are we doing and you are briefing the president on the event and what’s going on as it relates to security.”
Over the course of his career, Williams did undercover work, served presidents and their families. But it is something he was able to do for his own family that provides him with one of his greatest memories.
“I think one of the fondest memories I had was introducing my mother to President Clinton,” said Williams.
His crowning achievement came when he left Washington D.C. and returned to Birmingham to basically take a demotion to fulfill a dream.
“To say this young man from Ensley grew up to be the agent in charge of the Birmingham field office and to have executive oversight over the state of Alabama and the state of Mississippi is a dream come true for me it’s a great way for me to have ended my career,” said Williams.
Williams says it will take some time before he is used to getting up each day and not having his service weapon, preparing a briefing or making sure his protectee is safe. Now that he’s retired, Williams and his wife plan to travel across the country in their R.V. and hoping that young men and women in Ensley, the community where he grew up, will see his achievement as examples that they too can rise to the top.
Check out our interview below: