Fond Memories of a Hero: Security Capo Eulogizes Rawlings

Jerry John Rawlings

When I first joined the ‘Secret Service of Ghana’, one of the very first tasks I performed was called Advance Team Assignment.

It is an assignment, where a team of Secret Service officers are despatched to an area, ahead of the President’s visit.

The Advance Team must critically assess, analyze and to determine the security, or otherwise of the visit.

This involved taking positions, ensuring that grounds or locations are swept and cleared, and made suitable for the President and his or her entourage during their stay.

I was drawn in and added to the team of senior colleagues by my boss for whatever reason; I don’t know. I won’t be told anyway.

I was glad to be part of the team, especially considering the nature of the assignment and the opportunity for me to learn from my able seniors as much as I could.

My addition to the team also created the opportunity for me to come face-to-face with the sitting President, and to also walk in the path of the noblemen and women who have come before me, performing the same assignments for the State.

On one occasion, we safely arrived at location and briefing was done correctly as usual. Each person knew his or her role and our collective responsibilities while we were there.

At first, I found it very intriguing that my boss and seniors had such confidence in me and made the judgement to add me to the team of senior and skilful secret service personnel on such a sensitive assignment.

I promised myself not to fail. I was determined to work and walk within my lines to ensure my inclusion was justified and beneficial, which I believe I did to the best of my knowledge and ability.

Then the big day came, and the Closed Protection Unit of the President arrived at the location. They did what was usual and expected of them, and after a few pleasantries, I saw the President so close for the first time in my life and my young career.

His attitude, composure, humility, friendliness and his power of oratory, plus all the jokes just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe what was happening and what I saw with my naked eyes.

He was everybody’s friend and freely mingled with his protection team. He came very close to our location after he identified who we were and our mission on the ground.

My greatest moment and fond memory of him came when I saw him eating together with the rest of us common folks.

The totality of it all left an indelible impression of service in humility on me, and I have kept it with me for all these years.

That encounter and the collective efforts of my team, particularly my seniors and their dedication to serve their nation, and to perform their duties in an atmosphere of sincerity and professionalism has kept me throughout my career and with all my life assignments.

The assignment ended well, and we all returned to base to continue with our daily routines.

One thing led to the other, and I have had several opportunities that brought me ever closer to President Jerry Rawlings and to the subsequent Presidents of the Republic of Ghana.

I love you, President Rawlings, and you are my Hero. I will pass this memory onto my children and grandchildren, and instil in them the virtue of simplicity and humility in service.

I thank my boss (head of my department |unit) and my seniors for their input into my life and career, and the rest is history.

Thank you, and God bless you.


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