Rockport resident Kathryn Clark Childers unveiled her new book Scared Fearless - An Unlikely Agent in the US Secret Service at a book signing Monday, Sept. 27 at the Rockport Center for the Arts.
The book, by Childers, with Deborah Perry, is about the period in Childers’ life serving as a Secret Service agent.
Recruited to the Secret Service as one of its first five female agents, Childers would surprise many people, including herself. Her duties included undercover work, protective details for John and Caroline Kennedy, children of Jacqueline Kennedy, and attending state dinners where she met world leaders, including Prince Juan Carlos of Spain.
In addition, she had to figure out how to disguise the .357 Magnum revolver that she carried at all times, whether wearing jogging clothes, a business suit, or an evening gown.
It was 1970, and the Secret Service, like most public and private organizations, struggled - sometimes unsuccessfully - with the challenges of incorporating a rising tide of women into government service and other professional workplaces.
Written in a lighthearted but highly informative style, Scared Fearless details the obstacles and the joys, the moments of high adventure, and the laughable fashion dilemmas that were part of Childers’ groundbreaking role.
Through everything that happened, Childers says, she followed her father’s admonition: “Just do it scared.”
The US Secret Service hired Childers in 1970. Since leaving the Service and moving to the Corpus Christi area in 1973, she has been a television producer, broadcaster, and talk show host. A professional speaker, she has been a featured presenter for organizations nationwide.
In the forward of Scared Fearless, Clint Hill, assistant director, US Secret Service (retired), said, “They were pioneers who blazed the trail for the hundreds of female agents that followed, and they continue to be essential to the Secret Service. Kathryn is an example as to why I am so proud of the females we employed and the tremendous value they added.”
Phyllis Shantz, one of the first five female Secret Service agents with Childers, said, “Kathy and I worked some ‘out of the ordinary but grand’ assignments together during her time in Secret Service. We have completely different personalities and completely different backgrounds. Kathy loved the protection details and I loved the undercover and criminal investigations, however, we accomplished both with success … sometimes with a lot of sweat and tears. We made a great team.
“Kathy has the gift of taking an ordinary or mundane event and making it something special. Each of the first five female special agents had diverse backgrounds and experiences, and Kathy presents one of these stories in the memories that she has highlighted in this book.”
Hard copy and audio books are available at www.kathrynchilders.com or other book outlets (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.).