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Fiscal Year 2021 Annual Report | Honored to Serve

A LEGACY OF SERVICE

Spotlight Story

From our Veterans and Trevon Jenifer to our many passionate contributors and interviewees, this Annual Report is filled with stories exemplifying and extolling themes of duty, honor, sacrifice, service, and family. These concepts are deeply rooted in the Secret Service culture and legacy, having been the heartbeat of the agency since 1865. The agency’s most tenured employees know this better than anyone, and indeed cite them as the driving force that led them to, and kept them in, a career of public service.

Collectively, Pam Corey, Jessie Lane, Karyn Casares, and Karen Wolf have served over 170 years in the agency, dedicating their lives to the protection of the President and to the integrity of our nation’s financial infrastructure. Each started their careers early; they were eager and energetic, but uncertain of their future

“I started working at the Secret Service when I was 19. I was a college sophomore, and I joined through, what was then called, the Stay-in-School Program. I worked 16 to 20 hours a week during school and came on full time when I graduated,” said Pam Corry, Component Acquisition Executive. She started her career in 1979 in the Office of Training. Upon graduation, she began working for what was then known as the Data Systems Division. She fondly recalls that when she joined, “All we had was a mainframe for processing information. Desktop computing was in development. We were using DOS [Disk Operating System]. While she had not planned for a career with the Secret Service, she quickly found purpose and community. Pam now has been with the Service for 42 years.

Jessie Lane, the agency’s Assistant Equal Employment Manager, also started her Secret Service career in 1979. “I started as a Stay-in-School clerk when an inspiring female leader in my church asked if I wanted a summer job and changed the course of my life. I started at the Richmond Field Office. When I graduated from college with a degree in journalism, I took the civil service test and moved to Washington, D.C. to take a different position as a clerk in the Uniformed Division.”

While individuals like Pam and Jessie have spent most of their Secret Service careers in the Washington, D.C. area, others have made a career for themselves in field offices across the country. One such individual is Karyn Casares, a career Administrative Officer in Philadelphia, who also started her career while in school. “You don’t realize how time flies. I began service in the 80’s as a Clerk Typist. My original plan was to go to college to become a lawyer after high school. Back in the 80’s the Office of Personnel Management used to administer testing in high schools. If you passed the test, your name was provided to government agencies with vacancies. The Administrative Officer of the Secret Service called to see if I was interested in interviewing for a clerk typist position after graduating from high school. While describing the duties, she mentioned that there would be an opportunity to travel which I just couldn’t pass up! My intention was to work with the Service for a year or so, travel a little and then return to my original plan as a full-time student. Needless to say, that never happened. I stayed full time and I completed my degree in the evenings instead.” Karyn started with the Secret Service in 1980 and never looked back.

“After about a year, the Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Field Office asked me if I was interested in filling in for the Administrative Officer in the Paris Field Office for a few weeks while she was on leave. He told me to ‘go make a name for the Philadelphia Office.’ The fact that somebody trusted me at that young age and being there for such a short amount of time said a lot for me.” The trust, mentorship, and family that Karyn found in her colleagues was a significant part of her choice to stay with the Secret Service. “I specifically remember the moments I was able to share with my family – taking a private tour of the White House, viewing an arrival of Air Force One, and having the pleasure of shaking a President’s hand – that meant a lot to me,” she said. “Things like that stick with you. Everybody matters, and it’s one big family. I’ve never felt like I’ve just been a number in this agency.”

This experience of community was shared among our tenured employees. Karen Wolf joined the Service in 1976 and has spent her career working as the Administrative Officer in the Sioux Falls office. “The agents treated me like one of them, and we all worked until the job was done. I stayed in the Secret Service because I loved the work we do, and I loved the confidence the agents had in me to get the job done.” The trust Karen built with her colleagues was so deep that, just before passing away, a former Resident Agent in Charge credited Karen as the person behind the scenes who was really responsible for keeping the Sioux Falls office running.

Workforce Perspective

“Working for the Secret Service for over 30 years has been the most rewarding… From an APT [administrative, professional, and technical personnel] perspective, it has afforded me so many opportunities that I would never have experienced with any other agency and is very family oriented. It really is the most prestigious agency to work for, and I am honored to have been chosen to be part of the Secret Service family.”
— Counterfeit Management Specialist

It really is the most prestigious agency to work for, and I am honored to have been chosen to be part of the Secret Service family.

This sense of family is inseparable from the culture of service and sacrifice that runs through everything the Secret Service does. “One thing that holds true is our love for the mission. That has never wavered. We can agree to disagree, but when it’s time to perform, the string that ties us together no matter who you are or what position you hold, is that we are dedicated to the mission because we understand that we are the people who are responsible for protecting our nation’s leaders. Together, we are going to get it done,” Jessie explained.

“The sense of the mission is what I enjoy most,” Pam added. “You’re never far from it. You just get used to working with people who are committed, have integrity, and are there to get the job done. I’ve never really thought about going anywhere else. There’s just a sense of mission in this agency that you don’t really see anywhere else. We’re always close to the mission. That’s one advantage of being in an agency this small.”

Together, these employees helped lead the agency to triumph and through tragedy, leaving their mark on the rich history of the Secret Service and the world events it must navigate. They’ve seen the Secret Service through several Presidential assassination attempts, the end of the Vietnam and Cold Wars, the Oklahoma City bombings, the terror attacks of September 11th and more, all the way through to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Pam recalls, as a Stay-in-School intern, being included with others from the office to attend the White House ceremony for the return of the Americans from the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1981. “It was certainly a piece of history, and it was exciting.”

 

“I remember when President Reagan was shot, and I was in the Richmond Field Office … When we encounter difficult situations, we swing into action and maintain a stalwart commitment to making sure the mission is successful,” Jessie recalls. “And the commitment of our organization after 9/11 was second to none. Not just to the mission, but to each other. In fact, the entire Secret Service leadership team and staff members of the Employee Assistance Program made themselves immediately available when we returned from ground zero in New York. To this day, one of my former colleagues still calls me – and several others – every year on 9/11.”

Now, they hope to leave a legacy behind that embodies the duty, honor, sacrifice, service, and family that initially brought them to the Secret Service and gave them the purpose and pride to stay.

“I’m so proud of the new generation of employees who are coming into the agency. Whatever happens in the agency, I just want people to see the value in each other. Embracing the principles of diversity and inclusion make our agency stronger. These times have really allowed us to look around and appreciate what everyone brings to the table and how dedicated people are,” Jessie noted. “Iron sharpens iron. People get together and make it happen. In spite of the many challenges we have faced as an agency, I still see people committed to our zero-fail mission. What I still think about today is the progress we’ve made from then to now, and the willingness of our agency to embrace change. I’ve seen the agency morph in different directions along the way, but our personnel have always been willing to embrace hard things. I love that people are so dedicated and committed to the mission.”

 

“I'm so proud of the new generation of employees who are coming into the agency. Whatever happens in the agency, I just want people to see the value in each other. Embracing the principles of diversity and inclusion make our agency stronger.”

Jesse Lane, Assistant Equal Employment Manager

 

Each of these remarkable individuals shared a similar sentiment and vision for the future of the Secret Service. “I just want to see the commitment to the mission and to each other to endure.” Pam added.

 
More than anything, each of these four public servants hope they can pass along the culture of duty, honor, sacrifice, service, and family.

More than anything, each of these four public servants hope they can pass along the culture of duty, honor, sacrifice, service, and family. It is this culture and the colleagues that became family that raised them and guided them through remarkable and impactful lives of service – service to a cause much larger than us all.

“The hardest part of this job for me will be ending my journey,” shared Karyn. “I was a kid when I got here. The Secret Service as a whole, and my Secret Service family, are a big part of who I am today. People say, ‘Wow, you lived your whole life here!’ and I basically did. I spent more time with these people than I did my own family. The lessons I’ve taken from everyone... I’m so grateful.”

Workforce Perspective

“I applied to the Secret Service because I wanted to give back as a public servant. I was not born in the US, My parents are immigrants; I am an immigrant. I came to this country when I was 3 years old. This country gave me opportunities I wouldn’t have had in a third world country. I’m honored to give back by working for an agency that protects our president and those freedoms.”
— Maria Ruano, Lieutenant

I applied to the Secret Service because I wanted to give back as a public servant.

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