Just a couple of short weeks ago, Special Agent Darrin Czellecz was on duty protecting Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia.
The 48-year old Czellecz shared his story with sixth, seventh and eighth graders Oct. 9 at Assumption Regional Catholic School in Galloway Township. His visit was a part of the school’s new Friday Enrichment Program.
For the past 22 years, Czellecz has worked to protect the lives of Vice Presidents Al Gore, Dick Cheney and, now, Joe Biden.
“I wasn’t the type of person who wanted to stay inside” he told the assembled students in the school auditorium, describing his desire to apply for the federal position.
He played football for Rutgers University’s Scarlet Knights and later spent time in New York Giants camp, but was eventually cut. He applied for the Secret Service job in 1991 and didn’t find out he got the job until 1994 because of the extensive background check.
Since then, he’s climbed Mount Rainer with Al Gore, and been fly-fishing with Dick Cheney, while providing round-the-clock protection for them. He has traveled to such places as Moscow and Romania, protected foreign officials and, during Pope Francis’ recent visit to Philadelphia, he was part of the detail keeping the Holy Father safe.
Every few months he undergoes mandatory fitness and weapons training (currently, he is the firearms instructor for the Secret Service).
He warned the young, aspiring, future special agents (and everyone else) to resist drugs and engaging in illegal activities, citing his own background investigation. “What you do now will reflect on the rest of your life,” he said.
In upcoming Friday Enrichment Programs, Assumption School students will learn nutrition, how to bake, and prepare for high school.
“We want to introduce them to more than what’s in the textbook,” said Tom Schurtz, literature teacher.