Publish Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 08:06:21 -0700

Gary Reese and Donna Farracone

After nearly 15 years at Crafton Hills College, Gary Reese has retired, but he wants to leave his students with some final words of encouragement.

"Sometimes they come up to me and say they don't know what they want to do when they grow up, and I say, 'So what?'" Reese, professor in emergency medical services and faculty chair of public safety and services, said. "You are never too old to do something."

Reese describes himself as a "late bloomer." After working as a contractor, he decided to attend Crafton, and in 1998 graduated from the paramedic program at the age of 48. He earned his associate's degree in emergency medical services and his bachelor's degree from the University of Phoenix, finishing at 56. Before coming to work at Crafton in August 2002, he spent time serving as a paramedic.

The best part of working at CHC was "dealing with my students and watching their growth," Reese said. "We watch the progress these young men and women make, and on graduation we feel comfortable that they can go out and make a difference in people's outcome. It is very rewarding."

Reese is looking forward to spending more time on his hobby, woodworking, and traveling with his wife around the United States in their motor home. "We want to enjoy life while we still have our good health," he said.

Just because Reese is retiring doesn't mean he's ready to stop helping people. He lives in Yucca Valley and will likely get back into search and rescue in the desert.

"As long as I can be of service to the public or a person, I'm a happy guy," Reese said.