Saltwater Portrait

Barry Boright handyman, lawman

Barry Boright is a U.S. Marshal, who has made Lewes his home. Boright has been involved in many high-profile cases in his career and was recently honored with the Attorney General's Award for Heroism. BY NICK ROTH
July 1, 2014

When U.S. Marshal Barry Boright isn't hot on the trail of a fugitive, he spends his down time renovating historic homes in the Cape Region. With his wife, Stephanie, the couple's latest venture is not a home, but rather a project they hope will help revitalize downtown Milton.

In October, the Borights bought a building at 102 Federal St. Previously home to an antique shop and book store, the building will officially reopen this summer as Modern Mixture Too, the second location of the popular Rehoboth restaurant. The Nature Conservancy will occupy the rest of the space.

“We're hoping we can help bring more business to Milton and make it an exciting place,” Boright said. “It has such a great waterfront and has so much character. It's just a great little spot.”

While the Borights will neither own nor manage the new Modern Mixture, the restaurant industry is not totally foreign to Barry. Before moving Washington, D.C., in the early '90s, Barry owned his own restaurant in Vermont. That's how he met Stephanie.

“She worked for a radio station and came in to sell advertising,” he said.

The rest is history.

The couple moved to D.C. only a few years later, where Barry got a job with the Alexandria Sheriff's Office. Time and place had a lot to do with Boright's career progression. Because of his 12-hour shift schedule, Boright was able to work part time with the U.S. Marshal's Service in his off time. That led to a consulting job and eventually to a full-time position. Nearly 20 years later, Boright now supervises an office for the Violent Crimes Task Force. He is also the regional gang director. Naturally, his line of work can be dangerous, no more evident than during a fire fight with a wanted man a few years ago.

“One of my guys was shot, and we helped him get out of the building,” he said. “We had like a 45-minute shootout with this guy.”

As a result, Boright and his team were awarded the U.S. Attorney General's Award for Heroism and were honored by Eric Holder earlier this year.

As he looks back on his career, Boright realizes the seed of working for the U.S. Marshal's Service was planted much earlier in his life. While serving in the U.S. Army at a United Nations base in Panmunjom, on the border of North and South Korea, in the late '80s, a presentation from a university man sold him on working with the marshal service.

After leaving the military, he set his sights on a career in law enforcement. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in criminal justice and embarked on his new career.

He has many memorable stories, including a few he cannot talk about.

Because of his top secret security clearance, Boright was involved in many high-profile cases. Living and working in the Nation's Capital, spy investigations and cases were not uncommon. He was involved in the highest profile Soviet spy cases of recent times – FBI agent Robert Hanssen and CIA officer Aldrich Ames and his wife Rosario. Both men were found to be feeding the Soviet Union and Russia information, exposing many CIA assets.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina decimated New Orleans in 2005, Boright was sent down to run a unit in charge of law enforcement and general assistance for the city. He worked 12- to 16-hour days, seven days a week for one month.

Boright and his colleagues went door to door in search of survivors, many of which they found. They also found many who were not so lucky.

"I still remember the smell and being able to tell whether or not there might be body in a particular house we were entering," he said. "The people we were able to assist were so appreciative of us being there. It really made me proud to be there."

Boright also worked on terrorism cases, most notably the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the 29th hijacker from the Sept. 11 attacks. He had many face-to-face encounters with the man.

“I spent many days with him going through documents with him present, and during that time he was very chatty about terrorism and his views on things,” he said. “I can’t go into a whole lot of detail about it because much of it is still top secret.”

When American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentaon's west wall, the Borights' home, just a few miles away, shook. Neither Boright nor his wife were home, but their young daughter was.

“Our nanny was there with Sydney. Sydney was just a baby,” he said. “I was at the federal courthouse working a murder trial, and Stephanie was in D.C. working trying to get home.”

Barry spent much of the next few weeks working, on a detail with the vice president's family at a safe site.

It was the Sept. 11 attacks that led to the Borights' move to Lewes. Just two months after that infamous day, they bought their first home in Lewes on Mulberry Street. The purchase came after spending just two weekends in The First Town and without ever seeing the beach.

“The second time we came down it was the weekend of the Christmas parade – another cold weekend – but we fell in love with Lewes and bought a house that weekend,” he said.

The house was historic, but needed work. Its history was quite a story, he said.

“It used to be on the canal and was rolled here on trees,” he said. “They just used the trees as a frame for underneath it.”

A few years later they moved down the street, buying a new historic home Mulberry Street. That one needed much more work.

“It was a complete rehab,” Boright said.

Now, the family is on the move again, this time a home previously owned by Margery Virden, founder of the Lewes Yacht Club and a former newspaper columnist with a love of Lewes' historical beauty. The home is being renovated, but this time Boright isn't doing the work himself. He's leaving this project to contractors.

He finds himself with much less time than his younger days, when he and a friend worked together to renovate and rent about a dozen row homes in the Fells Point section of Baltimore.

“In my spare time, I love spending time with my wife, Stephanie, and daughter, Sydney, and friends,” he said. “We don’t have any family in the area, and our friends are like family. We share meals together and vacation together. I would like to say I love to fish in my spare time, but I don’t have much of it, and am a horrible fisherman, but that won’t stop me from trying.”

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