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Officer Travis Gillihan stands in uniform front of a tree at sundown holding the Susan Paxton Block Award

Independence Police Department Officer Travis Gillihan has been recognized as the 2023 Susan Paxton Block Award recipient for his outstanding commitment and dedication to his students as the School Resource Officer at Nowlin Middle School.

“Officer Gillihan is a shining example of how one person can make an immense impact in a student’s life. Outside of the lifesaving measures he is clearly willing to take for his students, he also knows the importance of the simple everyday things that can make a child’s life brighter,” Mayor Rory Rowland said. “I couldn’t be prouder to have him be a member of our Police Department and community.” 

Last year, Officer Gillihan ran into a pond to rescue a special needs student after they jumped in. He pulled the child from the water and began CPR – saving the child’s life.

In his nomination for the award, another occasion of his selflessness is also noted.

“After a student’s bike was stolen from school, Officer Gillihan worked with a local bike store to ensure the student could get a new one free of charge. He then went out of his way, on his time off, to bring the bike to the student’s home to surprise them.”

The Susan Paxton Block Award is presented to annually to a City employee, volunteer or elected official. Block was a member and past president of the JSL and represented the Third District from 1992 until her death in 1996. The late Bill Paxton, the father of the late Councilmember Block, established the award to honor her memory and recognize individuals who demonstrate excellence while conducting City business.

Past recipients of the award include Jeff Nunn in 2018, Sheila Saxton in 2019, Jeff Witte in 2020, Diane Egger in 2021, and Merideth Rose in 2022. 

The award includes $1,000 plus a medallion and a lapel pin. Proceeds come from the memorial fund established by Paxton. 

Join us in congratulating Officer Gillihan!

Press Release

Media Inquiries, contact:

Meg Lewis
Communications Manager