Before working in the Alabama banking industry and security solutions, Ken Valentine served in the U.S. Secret Service for 24 years. During that time, he helped protect three different presidents, ready to take a bullet for them at a moment's notice.

He recently sat down with 1819 News CEO Bryan Dawson on "1819 News: The Podcast" to talk about his time in the Service and share stories from his new book on his career, "Cheating Death."

Valentine joined the Secret Service in 1996 after a rigorous interview process that took over a year and had one in 10,000 odds of being successful. He was soon placed on the presidential protection detail under the Clinton administration in 2000. He continued to serve under the Bush administration and for President Barack Obama.

"Our job is to go out and ensure whatever the president wants to do can be done safely," Valentine said. "If we have to say no, you better be able to back that up with, well, why can't you make that safe and secure?"

He said Clinton didn't get out much during his last year in office compared to President George Bush, who was always on the movie.

"President Bush really keeps us on our toes because he could run just over a six-minute mile and keep it up for almost three miles," Valentine said. "To be able to run with him like that is hard enough, but to carry the gear… In some respects, President Bush was tough because he liked to do so much. He was so active. On the other hand, President Bush was so easy to predict in terms of time. He put out a schedule and stuck to it."

Valentine's book includes many personal stories from his time working with presidents, but he described it as more of a manual for leading a Godly, more "abundant" life.

"'Cheating death' was a term we used in the Secret Service. It was a way to remind ourselves how important the mission is," he said. "You show up to the White House everyday for work, it might be easy day after day after day when nothing happens to forget how important your mission is. So it was a good way to remind each other in a playful way of the importance of paying attention to detail and keeping your head in the game. We're not cheating the other team; we're cheating death."

Valentine said he still ascribes to that philosophy in his daily life.

"Death wants us dead now. Death wins if we just live this mediocre, ordinary life. You don't have to be a Secret Service agent to cheat death. I think we can live our best life. Jesus said he came that we might have life and have it to the fullest. "

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