His name is Dan Clark. He’s 46. He’s a father of four. He has red hair. And he’s generally clean shaven.And for almost two decades, he has been Warren Buffett’s personal bodyguard.
17 years ago, Clark was a young police officer in Nebraska.
He was eating lunch at a bagel joint in midtown Omaha, when he was approached by a woman who had been, according to the World Herald, “bothered by breaking news that Wisconsin bank robbers had plotted to kidnap” Warren Buffett.
The woman was Susie Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha’s eldest daughter. She demanded to know why police hadn’t told her family about the threat earlier.
According to the World Herald, Clark told Susie “he was not privy to details, but that the Buffetts should have been contacted.” He then offered his private security services before leaving the cafe. And the rest is history.
Clark’s security company now employs about 150. But back in the day, it was just Clark and Buff.Clark told the World Herald, which has a profile on the security man today,
The first year it was me, with a protein bar in my pocket, with Mr. Buffett. I didn’t take a meal break, and I didn’t sit down. By the end of the weekend, I was dog-tired.
Clark has since cultivated his security skills, and has safeguarded Sarah Palin, George Clooney, Barack Obama and the Iraqi Judge who oversaw the trial of Saddam Hussein when they visited Nebraska.
So what are some of the security threats — real or imagined — that Clark remembers most vividly.
There was one “spooky admirer with a “blank” stare who followed Buffett from place to place during a Berkshire gathering.” Even though his team managed the situation, Clark says there were all on high alert.
And in 2007, one of Clark’s men disarmed a man in camouflage who was armed with fake gun and a real weapon.
But before Buffett, Clark dealt with some pretty grim situations, which would have prepared him for anything:
His nearly 24-year career with the Omaha Police Department began in 1986, when crack cocaine and gangs were relatively new to town and driving up violent crime, especially in and around north Omaha housing projects.
He patrolled a sprawling low-income complex nicknamed “Little Vietnam” for its bloodshed. Gangsters called him “Red,” and his efforts to quell disorder were criticised publicly by a few African-American community leaders as too aggressive.
He’s also once changed his appearance so dramatically for an undercover drug bust codenamed Road Trip II, with “his red, short-cropped hair… dyed dark, and he had a beard and extra weight — that his own daughter backed away when he showed up to drive her home from dance class.” His disguise once elicited the same reaction from Buffett.
The biggest challenge to Clark’s work, in fact, seems to be the Oracle himself: “Buffett, now 80, still walks quickly, [and] “can change directions on a dime”” the bodyguard says. That “keeps Clark’s guys hopping.”