Behind the Pride: Meet Mr.Gilmore

Elie Park, Staff Writer

Mr. Gilmore, Reedy’s Parking Lot Attendant, is entering his 2nd year at Reedy. But for many students, he’s already a familiar face at school.

“He’s always making sure I have a good day,” sophomore Isabelle Betzold said. “And whenever I don’t, he’s always making sure to talk to me about it.”

His daily greetings to the students seems to project a positive energy in the school environment. 

“It’s very nice to tell someone to have a good day and actually mean it,” sophomore Ilona Yanina said. ”He’s just really positive about everything.”

Mr. Gilmore credits his mother for instilling positivity in his attitude from an early age. 

“My mother was a big influence on me and all my brothers,” Gilmore said. “My father died when I was six months old. So my mom was the main parent of my household. We grew up in an environment that made us thankful for what we have.”

Gilmore’s enjoyment of engaging with the students and watching them grow throughout the school year seems to contribute to his positive attitude.

“I just love greeting the kids and getting to know them,” Gilmore said. “It’s so cool to see all the young people living their lives and how much the freshmen have matured just in one year.”

Despite the positivity Gilmore spreads at Reedy, his previous job required a more serious attitude. 

“I used to transport inmates across the country, from one prison to another,” Gilmore said. “I also worked as a tower officer, making sure the inmates didn’t jump over the walls.” 

Working 20 years as a corrections officer, Gilmore struggled with maintaining an alert temperament.

“In the correctional officer mindset, you’re very security minded,” Mr. Gilmore said. “Like when you go to a restaurant, you’re always watching around.”

Despite the stressful conditions of his job, Gilmore understood the potential impact he could have on the prisoners.

“Most inmates grew up in a life of crime,” Mr. Gilmore said. “So our job as corrections officers is to change that behavior and show that there is a different lifestyle.”

Although many inmates continued to commit crime even after serving time, some prisoners attempted to improve their lives.

“We do get through some people,” Gilmore said. “There was a kid that got his college diploma in prison and when he got out, he was 25 years old, so he had a fighting chance.”

Because of instances like this where prisoners shifted their outlook on their lives, Gilmore realized his duty as a corrections officer which drove his commitment to his profession.

“It’s a depressing environment, but you have to know that you’re making a change in somebody’s life,” Gilmore said. “That’s what gets you through.”

Following his retirement as a corrections officer, his wife suggested he apply for a job in a school setting.

“Once I was retired for about six months, my wife said, you should get a job working at a school in security. Get summers off. I think you’d enjoy the kids,” Gilmore said.

For Gilmore, the lure of a high school setting and his outgoing personality attracted him to a job working with students.

“I’ve always liked the atmosphere of high school because it makes me feel young, and I think it’s a good fit for me especially because I have an outgoing personality,” Gilmore said.

After a 20 year career as a corrections officer, Gilmore finds working in a high school setting an invigorating experience.

“When you work in prison, these prisoners spend most of their lives in prison,” Gilmore said. “But here, it’s just the opposite. They’re beginning their lives. They’re looking forward to going to college, the football games, the basketball games. So this for me is a breath of fresh air.”

Although Gilmore isn’t sure how long he’ll be at Reedy, he takes his job day by day, spreading positivity throughout the school and brightening the students’ daily lives. 

“This is just fun for me. It’s just something I take day by day, and it just makes me smile every day,” Gilmore said.