Quinn nominated to be U.S. marshal
By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on July 23, 2009 1:46 PM
Approval from President Barack Obama and Senate confirmation is all that stands between Bronnie Quinn and a lifelong dream.
Quinn, a retired Highway Patrol trooper with a 25-year career, is one of three nominees to become U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The former trooper, who now works as an accident investigator for the Riddle & Brantley law firm, said he anticipated a Marshals' Service job opening before the presidential election.
Quinn said he spoke with Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., requesting consideration for the slot should it open, then sent her a letter after Obama was elected.
He was kept in suspense until July 8, when Sen. Hagan told him he was one of three nominees.
Although Quinn said his fingers are crossed for his appointment, just the nomination has been a thrill.
"It's always been a lifelong dream to be a U.S. Marshal," Quinn said. "I was in a lot of suspense before July 8 -- up to July 8, I had not a clue."
Quinn, who also is the chairman of the Wayne County Democratic Party, said the image that most people conjure when thinking of U.S. Marshals won't fit him if he is appointed.
"Being the chief marshal for the district is mostly administrative -- probably not as active as (actor) Tommy Lee Jones" in Warner Bros.' 1998 film "U.S. Marshals."
Quinn said he asked his employer before seeking the position, and lawyer Gene Riddle gave his blessing.
The former trooper said he felt lucky to have a supportive employer.
"I'm just fortunate to be in the place that I'm in right now," Quinn said. "I'm very fortunate to be working for people like Riddle and Brantley, who not only have allowed me to pursue this goal, but have encouraged me."
The Democratic Party chairman said he believed that position may have opened the door for him to be nominated by Hagan.
"I think it gave me a chance to be looked at. It certainly gave me the opportunity to have the senator look at me," Quinn said.
His experience as a state trooper, city policeman and deputy sheriff would serve him well if he is appointed.
"First of all, I guess you learn to deal with the public," Quinn said. "I have worked court rooms, court security for the sheriff. I even worked for Princess Ann of England" when she visited the states.
Quinn, a native of Jones County, said his small town roots and insistent mother led him on his career path.
"I grew up on my granddad's farm," Quinn said. "One day, I came home from the farm, put some clean clothes on and my mom said, 'You're getting a job at the grocery store.'"
Quinn protested that he already had a job, working with his grandfather on his 30-acre hog farm in Jones County.
"She said, 'No, you're going to have a job at the grocery store,' and that was that," Quinn said, beginning a years-long career at Piggly Wiggly in Richlands.
Working at the grocery store and in small communities where people encouraged him was vital to his continued success, Quinn said.
Quinn's wife of 31 years, Sherry, lives with him in Goldsboro, and their two sons, Travis and Bret, both live and work in North Carolina.
Growing up poor helped Quinn realize the important things in life, he said.
"I can tell you that, growing up, I didn't have as much as I have today," Quinn said. "I've had all the opportunities in the world."