(L-R) Michael Johnson's father Dan Johnson, Reese Gwillim, and PAAF President, Jessica Welker.
Reese began his career with the San Jose Police Department in 1975. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1999. He worked Patrol, MERGE, Narcotics, the Field Training Program, Canine, and Bomb Squad. As a Sergeant, he was a supervisor at the Airport. He started the TSA Airport Canine Unit. He also started the SJPD Catastrophic Illness Program to support fellow officers who needed time off for catastrophic events.
Reese attended Awalt High School in Mountain View where he played football. He attended DeAnza College and obtained an AA in Administration of Justice. He was accepted into San Jose State University but was unable to attend. He woke up one morning and was partially blind in one eye. Reese had two corneal transplants over the next 18 months.
Reese played on the San Jose Police Choirboys Football Team for two years. He realized it was safer to play soccer so he played on the SJPD Soccer Team for the next 20 years. He competed in several California Police Olympics, California Police Summer Games and Western State Police & Fire Games.
Over the past 27 years, Reese has given hundreds and hundreds of hours to the San Jose Police Department’s Baker to Vegas Team. He has assisted the SJPD Team in every aspect of this race. He has assisted with Men’s Team, the Women’s Team, the Mixed Team and the Over 800 Team. Reese drives the support/follow van, providing water and food to the runners and giving them their time splits. He also protects each runner by driving behind them keeping them safe while they run. He and his co-pilot also provide the documentation to race officials and must do so within 10 minutes of the completion of the race. Reese drives the entire race which is between 12 and 15 hours and 120 miles long. Throughout the years he has paid for his own transportation, his room accommodations and his meals. Before he retired he had to request for “time off” using valuable vacation time so he could volunteer his time.
Reese has gone above and beyond in his contributions and dedication to the Baker To Vegas Team and his fellow SJPD officers. He has been a true example of what Officer Michael Johnson was and stood for.
For his outstanding dedication in volunteering himself to the San Jose Police Department’s Baker to Vegas Team, Sgt. Reese Gwillim is awarded the Officer Michael J. Johnson Memorial Award.