In San Antonio, about 857 miles away from the world’s busiest border, Patrick Callahan (’00) has been working as a lawman for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the last ten years. “I enjoy public service. Serving in DHS on behalf of the American people is a unique privilege and responsibility,” he said. “I like working on important matters that make a difference for our country.”
As a deputy chief counsel at the DHS, Patrick works closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), supervising trial attorneys, setting goals, assigning cases, and reviewing product work. He also provides legal advice to senior ICE law enforcement personnel. “I enjoy a challenge,” he said. “I find a good debate exciting, and I’m always looking to learn more, so law was a natural fit for me.”
When his journey first began, Patrick had to find a college that would help him reach his goals. “I was homeschooled, so I wanted a college that was friendly to homeschoolers, offered a solid biblical foundation, and had rigorous academics. PCC fit the bill perfectly!” he explained.
Patrick has especially appreciated two areas of training from his time studying pre-law—history and public speaking. “I am fascinated with history. Dr. John Reese inspired my love of history and convinced me of its relevance. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes,” he said. As for public speaking, “I often conduct large meetings, which is an opportunity junior lawyers rarely have.”
Patrick has also seen God work in unique ways in his life. During his senior year, Patrick sent out several applications to law schools across the country, although he had his sights set on one specifically. He was thrilled to find they had accepted him and offered a partial scholarship, but he quickly realized the cost was still too much for him. “I ended up attending the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) because it offered a high-quality education at a fraction of the price.” During his first year there, Patrick soon met another student whose experience was identical while applying to different law schools. “That someone was the love of my life, Kristy. We got married in law school and have two wonderful boys, Luke and Kaleb,” he explained. “Looking back at all the paths we had been on and all the choices we made, it’s very comforting to see how God put us both at Ole Miss at the same time. God is in control, and He does care for us.”
“PCC did an excellent job preparing me for law school,” Patrick said. “Many of my fellow students at Ole Miss really struggled with the jump from undergrad to law school. Thanks to the preparation I had from PCC, while others were stressing out and attempting to learn to operate at a new pace, I found law school to be an enjoyable learning experience.”
After graduating with his Juris Doctorate in 2003, Patrick went on to become a judge advocate in the Marine Corps, where he earned the Defense Counsel of the Year Award for the Western Region. In early 2009, Patrick switched to working in private practice, during which he wrote and published a book, and then began working in the Department of Homeland Security in 2010, where he’s continued to serve over the last ten years.
Throughout his experiences in law, Patrick has endeavored to keep his perspective fixed on biblical principles and to serve as a witness in his field. “Any field you work in allows you to interact with different people and to be a light to them. As a lawyer, people are constantly coming to you with their problems. It’s amazing how often that gives you the opportunity to share truths from God’s Word that apply to their situation. When I was in private practice, I was surprised at how many people who would never go to church or let anyone else talk to them about their soul were open to discussing heaven, hell, and God’s grace with an attorney,” Patrick said. “In my current position, I strive to always remember that government is ordained by God and to apply His principles to my day-to-day actions. It’s sad to see how few strong Christians there are working for our government, and I think the lack of Christians in our government contributes to our societal downfall.”
After seeing the impact that years of building on his experiences, training, and maintaining a biblical perspective in his work continues to have, Patrick is thankful for the paths that have made up his life’s journey up till now. “I highly recommend [that] anyone looking for a quality education at a Christ-honoring school strongly consider PCC. Twenty years down the road, you will be very thankful you were strengthened in your walk with Christ, taught valuable life lessons and skills, and didn’t needlessly saddle yourself with debt,” he explained. “I know I am!”