TGH Exclusive: Evy Poumpouras reveals life-changing experiences as former Secret Service agent in new book

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By Ilias Karagiannis

A Special Agent for the United States Secret Service for over 12 years, Evy Poumpouras was on the Presidential Protective Division for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Also protecting presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush, Evy has worked alongside some of the most powerful people in the world. Evy’s heroic efforts as a first responder during the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City also earned her the U.S. Secret Service Valor Award.

Now a multi-media journalist and adjunct professor for The City University of New York, Evy shed’s a light on national security and law enforcement issues.

Photo: Peter Hurley/Supplied

The Greek Herald spoke exclusively with Evy following the release of her new book, ‘Becoming Bulletproof’, on 21 April 2020. In it, she teaches readers how to protect themselves, strengthen their mental resilience and confidence, read people, influence situations and live fearlessly.

Your life seems like the one of an action hero in movies. A former Secret Service Agent, national TV contributor and now a writer with the book “Becoming Bulletproof”. Is this your biography and what you are hoping for the readers to gain from this book?

Becoming Bulletproof is designed and written as a life manual to building mental strength and resiliency. I share all the knowledge, training, and experience I gained over the 12 years as a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service and applied it in such a way for people to use in their daily lives. The book took over two years to write. Gathering the information and research. Deciding which personal stories to share and how they could benefit the reader. Going through the pre-publication review process with the Secret Service. Even reaching out to Former President Obama’s Office to make sure he was comfortable with the stories I shared about him and his wife, Michelle Obama. My hope is that it will help people evolve – to be the strongest, most powerful version of themselves. To not succumb to fear but to face it head on by using the skills and strategies in my book to enhance their mental resilience.

“Live fearlessly”. One of the things that you are going to gain if you are becoming Bulletproof. We are in the midst of the pandemic and most of the people in the world, in US as well, are living in constant fear for their lives. How can someone manage the fear of death and how are you coping in this extreme situation?

By accepting that death is inevitable to us all. There is no escaping it. We would like to think we have some influence over it – and to some degree we do – by eating healthy, making smart decisions, looking both ways before we cross the street – but only to a point. Some things are beyond us, beyond our scope of control and it is something to accept and be ok with. I’ve learned not to fear death, but accept it as a natural course of life along with the vulnerabilities that come with that. I think those who fear death the most – are those who haven’t lived their fullest lives. Those who have settled, not followed their dreams, or who don’t feel fulfilled. If you LIVE everyday – really live and give it your all – then when it is your time you can feel that you have given it your all. And within that we can find peace to let go and move on.

I am sure that you have had a fascinating life so far. What was the most dangerous time that you‘ve experienced during your career as a secret agent? Did you face death in any circumstance?

Every time I put on my bulletproof vest I did so with the understanding that my life was in danger. In danger of being shot when I executed an arrest or search warrant of a felon or fugitive. Or in danger of jumping in front of a bullet to save the President’s life – or anyone else I was designated to protect. When you do this line of work – you do so with the understanding that you are exposing yourself to danger every single day – but eventually that becomes your normal daily life. It becomes a part of who you are – and so when things broke bad – you were mentally and physically prepared to handle them.

I am sure that our Greek readers in Australia will be very proud for your achievements in life and career. Could you tell us a little bit about how your Greek background shape your character and became bulletproof? 

I was educated from a young age on my Greek heritage. I learned about Greek heroes and philosophers. My parents sent me to Saint Demetrios, a Greek-American School, where I attended from my elementary years until high school. And I spent nearly every summer in Greece with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. So I was exposed a great deal to its legacy – especially from my father. He instilled in me the notion that I was strong, a fighter, and to never bow down to others. He made it a point to share stories of our Greek ancestors from the Ancient Philosopher Socrates to the war hero General Theodoros Kolokotronis. As a young girl I always saw myself as a descendant of these great heroes – and so I envisioned myself as one of them.

During the Athens Olympics in 2004 you were in Greece with Mr Bush. How was it to protect the President in the land of your ancestors and is there any story from back then to share with us?

I was in Athens helping prepare for the games and President Bush’s visit along with that of his family for a month. I worked closely with the Greek government, National Police Force, EKAM and Megaro Maximou. It was interesting to see the difference in training and skillset – watching and learning to see how my other “home” country operated. I worked hard during that assignment – mainly because all the divisions utilised me for my fluency in Greek. It was also iconic to see and experience the Olympic Games – although I was there to work.

What’s your next plans? Staying in TV and the Spy Games? Maybe a new book?

My career now is working in the entertainment and television industry. I work in front of the camera as a host or talking head. I also work behind the scenes creating and producing shows, and writing scripts. I have always loved the arts. I studied fine art in college and later graduated from a world renowned acting school in New York City. So this is not unfamiliar territory for me. 

What is your favourite experience from Greece that you can share with our readers?

Despite being born and raised in New York City – every time I go to Greece – I feel like I’m going home, like that is where I’m suppose to be. But perhaps, my most notable experience was when I brought my father back to Greece to be buried in his home village of Mesta, Chios. He was diagnosed with cancer and passed quickly. The support and love I felt from our village and community was unlike anything I have ever known. Everyone was there and I will never forget that.

Fast Facts

Favorite Greek island or city – There are so many places. It is hard to say. Some of my favourite places are Athens, Chios, and Crete.

Favorite Greek food – Souvlaki stin pita. Straight and simple.

Favorite expression in Greek – Oli agapane tin prodosia, alla kanenas then agapae to prodoti.

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