This story was published in the Winter 2023 issue of Total Sports Quinte magazine
By Melinda LaPorte – Partner & Lifelong Friend; and Lori Gillespie – Travis’ Mom
Robert and Lori Gillespie gave birth to their first born son, Travis Robert Gillespie on July 16th 1984. From the beginning with a stubborn and difficult delivery, Travis was not quite ready to start his journey. He knew he had a busy life ahead of him and a purpose to fulfill.
On that day they did not realize, that particular baby boy would grow to be a man who was admired, inspirational, a role model, and a protector of the community through York Regional Police (YRP). Unfortunately, Robert and Lori didn’t realize that they would only have a short time with him. On September 14th 2022 Travis lost his life due to an impaired driver on his way to work. Every mother and father hopes that their child will grow to be successful, healthy and happy, to be humble and show kindness throughout their life. Travis definitely exceeded his parents expectations.
When asked what kind of spirit Travis had as a little boy, Lori said he was a very happy and inquisitive child. She spoke of a memory, “Travis loved people and he would talk to anyone! One day he wandered off in a store and I panicked. I found him in the next aisle chatting with a man. I took his hand and led him away and said, “Travis, what did I tell you about talking to strangers?” He responded with “that’s ok mommy, he’s a good stranger” When I look back on Travis’s life, he always saw the good in people.”
His younger brother Dan, described Travis as someone that worked hard, who put passion into everything he did, was popular amongst his peers and could adapt and fit into any group.
Learning to ice skate, Travis refused help. He would fall and get back up and was determined to do it on his own. From age 7-13, Travis played for Warkworth Minor Hockey. His Father Robert always said that Traivs only wanted to do slap shots from the blue line, but that he had a way better wrist shot. His brother Daniel told me that this was most likely due to the movie “the Mighty Ducks.” Travis saw himself as the character, Folton, who was well known for his amazingly hard and fast slap shots. Later in life he played on a team with his fellow officers at Metrolinx named the “Rail Kings.”
In his teen years, he traded in his ice skates for a skateboard. Travis grew very passionate about his love for skateboarding and the lasting friendships he made along the way. As an Officer on duty, you could catch him showing the kids a few tricks on his board and showing them that he’s still got it. This went a long way with the younger community.
From there Travis grew a healthy obsession with martial arts and it became a huge part of his life, giving him strength and discipline to help him later in his career. Going on to compete in a few amateur MMA fights, Travis’ true passion lay within Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Travis’ family was recently presented with an honorary black belt from Primal Academy, the club where he trained. Primal Academy have gone on to raise money toward Hearts for Martial Arts, where several Children have been given a scholarship toward the ‘Travis Robert Gillespie Martial Arts Scholarship’ www.heartsformartialarts.com
Travis had a way with children that inspired them, where they immediately felt safe and trusted, someone to look up to and admire. Working with Community Living as a Big Brother, was a positive rewarding experience that benefited him in his personal and professional career.
He was an amazing uncle and incredible brother. Travis was a passionate partner and everyone he met in life immediately felt like he was their best friend. He loved being home with his family in Shiloh and loved any chance he got to do arborist work with his youngest brother Scotty. He loved him and respected the talent he has as an arborist , to go as far as saying, ” that’s what I want to do in my next life”.
At age of 24 Travis started his career with Metrolinx in 2008. There, he was promoted to Sergeant and continued on until 2019. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Travis never gave up on his dream to become a Police Officer. In 2019 he was accepted into the York Regional Police Academy where he became, Constable Travis Gillespie, #2774. This was a sad day for Metrolinx, since they had grown to value Travis’ energy and drive but they knew his potential and purpose laid within community policing.
Travis was in his 4th year with YRP and was loved and admired by his comrades. A fellow Officer describes Travis as “someone who loved people and did not wish to keep them in their darkness, but to lift them into the light with him”. He went on to say “Travis was a passionate protector of those that had the honor of being close with him”.
Travis had one more goal he wanted to chase. He wanted to try out for YRP’s Tactical team, the Emergency Response Unit(ERU). This is a young man’s sport that most try out for in their 20’s, but this did not falter Travis. Not only did he pass the grueling physical test with a time of 22.26, he had one of the best times in his group. Travis went on from there to pass ERU’s Hell Week and was just starting the next phase of the testing when he was killed. Travis impressed the ERU testers with this “fire in his belly” and the “drive to push hard and keep digging.” In this grueling course, this “young man’s sport”, we learned that Travis, at 38, was in the top 3 of his class.
It goes to show, if you dream it and believe it, anything can happen.
Travis truly was an angel who walked amongst us and made all of our lives better.
In Honor of Travis we are hosting our first Travis Gillespie Memorial Hockey Tournament where all proceeds raised will be donated to Hearts for Martial Arts and Warkworth Minor Hockey. This year it will be held at the Warkworth Arena and Community Centre on March 11 2023.
The Opening Ceremony will be at 7:45am, and this will be a full day event.
The Travis Gillespie Memorial Hockey Tournament
Saturday, March 11th, 2023
Address: 24 East St, Warkworth ON
Opening Ceremony: 7:45 AM
All donations are appreciated, and all money will be donated to
THE TRAVIS GILLESPIE MARTIAL ARTS SCHOLARSHIP & WMHA
On behalf of Travis; who put his life on the line every day and generously volunteered his time to make a difference in his community.
With his countless deeds of kindness, always giving and never expecting any favors in return; its our turn to give back on his behalf.
Rest in Peace
To donate send an Etransfer to : email@example.com
An email will be sent with a confirmation receipt upon request.
Anyone that has any questions, looking to volunteer or donate prizes
for the silent auction and baked goods table
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or call: 705-931-8748