The Leo Family extends best wishes and hearty congratulations to Tim McCarthy ’67, who is retiring as police chief for the Village of Orland Park after 26 years.
“It’s time,” he said, indicating a desire to spend more time with Jan, his wife of 47 years, and their seven grandchildren.
McCarthy is an authentic American hero. As a member of President Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service detail, he took a bullet for the President during an assassination attempt by deranged gunman John Hinckley Jr. outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 31, 1981.
Presidential Press Secretary James Brady and Washington, D.C., police officer Thomas Delahanty were wounded in the shooting, as was Mr. Reagan when a bullet caromed off his limousine and struck him between the chest and shoulder.
Several eyewitnesses, including Secret Service colleague Jerry Parr, the detail’s leader, credited McCarthy with saving Reagan’s life by moving into a position between Hinckley and the President and shielding Mr. Reagan when the shooting started. McCarthy was shot in the chest and underwent surgery for numerous internal injuries, but was able to return to work a few months later.
Although he always downplayed his heroism as a matter of “following my training,” McCarthy received numerous awards for valor, including a special “Facta non Verba” citation from the Leo High School Alumni Association. A member of the Leo Hall of Fame, he was named Alumni Association Man of the Year in 1983.
McCarthy played football at the University of Illinois, graduating with a degree in finance in 1971. He spent 22 years with the Secret Service, eight with the Presidential detail and his last four as Special Agent in charge of the Chicago office. He retired in October 1993 and became Orland Park’s police chief the following May. In a statement, Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau thanked McCarthy for providing “steadfast and dependable leadership to the men and women of the Orland Park Police Department” throughout his tenure.
“This has been an absolutely great run,” McCarthy said. “Time catches up with you … and it’s time.”