It was a long time ago when I met Mark Gillmore, Brawley’s police chief who retired June 30th. I began attending Valley Baptist Church (VBC) in Brawley; at the time I had a friend attending, and then my wife became the church secretary. I have spent many a Bible study with the Gillmore family. I have had the pleasure of his friendship and his wisdom for nearly two decades. On July 1, I wanted to call him at 1:00 in the morning and tell him I was going to rob a bank, and there was nothing to do about it. That’s how my mind works. My wife told me to knock it off, so I let his first night of retirement be one of peace.
I am a criminal, who doesn’t do too many bad things anymore. As a recovering person, I took many opportunities to break moral and legal laws. Christ changed me, and a police chief friend has been just one of the many blessings of my rebirth. Chief Gillmore is a servant of the Lord, and a pretty good guitar player in the worship band at VBC. He also has some acting abilities as well. He is kind of a Renaissance Man. The man has many skills. I admire the chief for many reasons. One reason I like to be around him, is he has many stories and a great sense of humor.
In sharing life experiences, the Chief’s tales are always laced with wisdom. Gillmore has been in law enforcement over 30 years, but before that, he was served his country on a Navy submarine. He is a skilled mechanic, and has the heart of a servant. Churches have building committees, and Gillmore has helped our church maintain its beauty and structural/spiritual integrity as a hard working team leader. His lovely wife Robin has also been a ministry leader, whose art abilities, leadership, and creativity enable one of the best Vacation Bible Schools in the valley. As I write, they are both up in Pine Valley at a children’s Christian week long camp, leading children to fun, adventure, and a closer relationship to Christ. Chief Gillmore continues to help young and old, follow God’s laws.
Although a law abiding citizen (for the most part!), Gillmore is a little twisted. If you are bent like me, you are attracted to his weird ways. Since I don’t live in Brawley, I can’t comment on issues of city management. For the time I knew him, he was able to keep his name off the front page of the IV Press, which is always a badge of wisdom. If you mess up, or someone thinks you did, the Press likes to help your darkness shine throughout the valley.
One story I will always remember is when he hopped on his motorcycle (and it is a mean looking machine), and went downtown on an errand. Well, he forgot his helmet. A civilian saw him and reported it. Mark was willing to give himself a ticket, but the law says you can’t do that. He was also willing to pay for a ticket, but since no law enforcement officer saw him break the law, there was no ticket to be given. One of his quotes is “No man is above the law!” I believe that, although I will admit I am not always a law abiding citizen. Just follow me as I drive on my way to church on Sunday mornings.