The Peter Gallo Memorial Foundation was founded with the intention of giving back to and supporting those that sacrifice so much for our country both domestically and abroad.
Mike Gallo and Linda Jelacich were all too familiar with those sacrifices, having lost their older brother Peter while he served in the Army during the Vietnam War. The foundation was named after the Gallo’s fallen sibling and for the past 40 years it’s done its best to honor his name through charitable acts in support of military veterans and first responders.
Two of the foundation’s most recent contributions include its annual support of the Sunrise Rotary Club’s Field of Honor — a display of 1,000 U.S. flags on the Merced College front lawn during Veterans Day every year — and its funding of the First Lt. Peter J. Gallo Veterans Resource Center refurbishing at Merced College. In recognition of its philanthropic contributions to the College and the local community, the Merced College Foundation will honor the Peter Gallo Memorial Foundation with the President’s Medallion at this year’s fifth State of the College Address, which will be held on Thursday, May 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“My family and I believe in helping to serve our family, friends, our community and country above ourselves,” Mike Gallo said. “Our family is very grateful for the sacrifices other people make when they serve in our country’s military, and we try to give back whenever possible and embrace causes supporting veterans and first responders.
“My brother, sister and I were raised in this community. Our family business is here. My wife (Lori) was raised here. And, all our children were born and raised here. Supporting this local community is very important to all of us.”
Peter Gallo was a graduate of Merced High and Merced College. He was attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo when he joined the Army in 1966. He was killed in action during the Vietnam War at the age of 22, earning the Purple Heart and Bronze Star awards for his service.
The Peter Gallo Memorial Foundation donated $80,000 for a redesign of the College’s Veterans Resource Center. The idea was to give veterans and their dependents on campus a one-stop place for all of their needs. The redesigned space includes counselors, a meeting room, homework areas and quiet spaces should they need some time to themselves. There’s also an outdoor patio area for meals or hanging out with friends.
The new Peter J. Gallo Veterans Resource Center reopened its doors in August 2017 and is fully servicing 150 veterans and their dependents across campus.
As Merced College graduates, Mike and Lori Gallo have strong ties to the College. They both attribute part of their success in business to lessons they learned while attending.
Tickets for State of the College are $65 per person or $500 for a table eight. The can be purchased by calling (209) 381-6470.