Admiral Stephen Rochon is warm, humble, and down to earth. He spoke to us as a friend and told us how lucky he felt to be meeting with us. I never would have thought that the former Chief Usher of the White House would return our feelings of gratitude so enthusiastically. As Chief Usher (and Director of the Executive Residence), Admiral Rochon oversaw our nation’s most famous house: from move-in day, to important events, to normal days with the presidential family.
Admiral Rochon was a wealth of knowledge and a masterful storyteller. I found him to be refreshing. He showed us the human side of men we often think of as untouchable; so powerful and high up so as to be inhuman.
I was on the edge of my seat as I listened to Admiral Rochon tell us which style of art the first ladies preferred and the personality of each president’s dog. Despite his past working closely with the most powerful men in the country, Admiral Rochon was completely himself. “I make my assistants uncomfortable because they call me ‘Admiral Rochon’ and I sign my emails ‘Stephen’.” His title didn’t mean everything to him; he cared about serving his president and country to the best of his ability. In a city where status is everything and power trumps all, I was inspired and uplifted by ‘Stephen’. He had so much pride in his work yet did not need a standing ovation or round of applause.
Admiral Rochon is a down to earth man who told a group of high school students he is always there for them. He respected us not only as young adults but also as agents of change. Admiral Rochon connected with us on a human level with warmth and respect. I hope that wherever my life takes me and whatever title I may possess, I am as humble and generous as Admiral Stephen Rochon.
He left us with these parting words: “Do as much as you can and always think that you can do some good and change the world. Enjoy life.” This is exactly what I will try to do.