Jeffrey Maguire stands in Market Square in downtown Houlton. Credit: Courtesy of Jeffrey Maguire

HOULTON, Maine — Behind every famous celebrity, there is a personal bodyguard providing protection from overzealous fans. And for some of the world’s prominent music artists and royalty, that bodyguard is Jeffrey Maguire.

Maguire, 55, has been a bodyguard for some of the most powerful and influential people in the world, from music artists such as Jay-Z and Linkin Park, to the Saudi Royal Family. He declined to discuss his current client, citing professional courtesy.

“After 9/11, I went to Iraq in 2004, and I was an infantry team leader [in the U.S. Army],” Maguire said on the 20th anniversary of the attacks over a cup of coffee at The County Co-op in Houlton. He was living in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

He originally moved to New York in 1992 to pursue a career in the restaurant business, but drifted into working security at bars and nightclubs. After he returned to New York from Iraq in 2005, he went back into security and began attracting his first big-name clients.

As the fame and wealth of his clients grew, so did his skill set for providing security and self-defense. In addition to his military background, Maguire is a certified emergency medical technician and a National Rifle Association-licensed firearms instructor. He has a black belt in Hapkido — a Korean martial art set apart for others by its kicks and circular movements. He also is skilled in surveillance detection and evasive driving.    

“There’s a great deal of training that goes into all of this,” he said. “When you’re working with some of the biggest stars in the world, they want to hire security that is top notch.”

Sometimes that means keeping your celebrity clients close, but not too close. He recalled a time in Mexico when his current client asked him if he wanted to sit together with her. But he politely declined, instead preferring to sit a few tables away to keep a better eye out on the whole area.

“What I do for a living is protect them from danger,” he said. “I assess threats and look for hazards.”

So how did an internationally traveled bodyguard — with some of the most famous clientele in the world — end up in Houlton, an Aroostook County town in one of the most rural and remote parts of the country?

“I always had a fascination with Maine,” Maguire said. “My grandfather was an avid hunter, and he used to talk about Maine when I was growing up.”

A few years after purchasing a tree farm in Grand Isle in 2012, Maguire convinced his wife, Kimberly, to relocate from Rhode Island to Houlton.

“I wanted to move us up a little more remote,” he said. “Grand Isle, that was a little too remote for my wife, so we agreed on Houlton.”

Maguire, who appears rather unassuming save for his exceptional height, works six months a year as a bodyguard, and spends the rest of the time with his family.

When he isn’t performing his security duties, Maguire runs his own business, called Mundbora, which makes bulletproof backpacks that can also be held like a personal shield. He said he hopes his venture will be a way to add to the economy of his new home. Currently he has about four employees, and the bags are manufactured in northern Aroostook County.

“I really hope to be able to bring jobs and businesses to Houlton,” Maguire said. “As well as bring some manufacturing jobs here, make the bags here and ship them worldwide.”