Kevin Gillespie was a 34-year-old officer in the City Wide Street Crime Unit of the NYPD. He was gunned down by a carjacker in the Bronx on March 14, 1996. He left behind a wife and two young sons. His nephew, Kyle Thomas Glasser, cites Gillespie as an influence in his life, even today.
Kyle Thomas Glasser has many people to thank in his life; perhaps none more than his uncle Kevin. Though Kyle Thomas Glasser was just a boy when he lost his uncle, Gillespie’s influence and inspiration remain strong.
Kevin Gillespie seemed destined to be a statistic. His parents split when he was just 10 years old and he found himself in foster care. At age 18, Kevin joined the ranks of the US Marine Corps. After his service, recalls Kyle Thomas Glasser, Kevin worked as a window washer. His passion was a life in public service and he worked feverishly to overcome his biggest enemy, dyslexia, to graduate from the NYPD Academy in 1991.
In his days at the academy, Kevin was a mentor for other cadets, an influence that leads Kyle Thomas Glasser to tutor math now. That alone would be enough for Kyle Thomas Glasser to hold a deep respect for his uncle, but Gillespie’s influence doesn’t end there. Kevin always had time for his family and career, and this balancing act is what drives Kyle Thomas Glasser’s involvement today in several civic organizations.
Like his uncle, Kyle Thomas Glasser strives to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Kevin is respected still; a May 2011 post to his Officer Down Memorial page reads: “You were a wonderful, kind and considerate human being…” Kyle Thomas Glasser wants to be remembered the same way his uncle is.
Kyle Thomas Glasser is not alone benefiting from the memory of this fallen hero. Before his death, Kevin created a protocol for police safety that is still protecting his fellow officers now. This is just something else that his nephew, Kyle Thomas Glasser, sees as motivation to always do his best. Kevin’s service continues to be honored. Kyle’s brother Ryan has followed in Gillespie’s footsteps, graduating from the NYPD Academy in December of 2010. In what Kyle Thomas Glasser calls an “emotional and unexpected honor”, his brother was presented with badge number 4503 – the same number as his uncle, his hero. Gillespie’s sacrifice was also acknowledged by having his home street renamed after him, according to Kyle Thomas Glasser.
Kyle Thomas Glasser is learning to serve his fellow man in medicine and, because of his uncle’s influence, always strives to conduct himself with class and dignity. Kyle Thomas Glasser knows that the world is a better place for having had Kevin Gillespie. While Kevin’s family can never hear his voice or feel his embrace, they know he is with them always. Kyle Thomas Glasser knows that if a window washer from New York can die a hero, then anything is possible. This message rings true to Kevin Gillespie’s memory, and serves as the foundation on which his nephews are building their lives.
Twenty-one year old Kyle Thomas Glasser’s mission in life is simple: to serve others. A student of medicine, a devout Catholic and an active member of the leadership organization Sigma Alpha Lambda, Kyle Thomas Glasser spends much of his time working to make a positive impact on his world. When he isn’t busy with studies as a senior at UGA, Kyle Thomas Glasser can be found mentoring incoming students and shadowing Dr. Jeff Traub in Atlanta.