“My family and I believe in helping to serve our family, friends, our community and our country,”
2018 President’s Medallion Award Recipient
Joseph E. Gallo established the Peter J. Gallo Memorial Foundation in 1968 with his children Michael “Mike” D. Gallo and Linda (Gallo) Jelacich in memory of his son Peter who was killed in action in Vietnam. They wanted to honor Peter’s selfless sacrifice and serve their family, friends, community and country which is of paramount importance to the family. That very commitment made it an obvious decision for the family when given the opportunity to establish the Peter J. Gallo Veterans Resource Center at Merced College in 2017.
The Mike Gallo and Linda Jelacich families are grateful for the sacrifices made by veterans and first responders. “The foundation continues to expand because the family recognizes now more than ever the importance of taking care of those who do so much for others,” said Mike Gallo.
The Peter J. Gallo Memorial Foundation has also been instrumental in helping to fund the initial construction of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC that was begun in 1982 and have supported the Merced Sunrise Rotary’s Annual Field of Honor since its beginning. The Sunrise Rotary Club’s Field of Honor is a display of 1,000 U.S. flags on the Merced College front lawn hosted annually during the week of Veterans Day.
In recognition of the Peter J. Gallo Memorial Foundation’s philanthropic contributions to the College and the local community, the Merced College Foundation honored the family with the President’s Medallion at the State of the College Address, which was held on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
“My family and I believe in helping to serve our family, friends, our community and our country,” 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.”
Peter J. Gallo was a graduate of Merced High School 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, having earned numerous awards for his service including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
The Peter J. Gallo Memorial Foundation made a generous donation for the 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.
Peter Joseph Gallo, First Lt United States Army
Troop C, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry , 9th Infantry Division
Enlisted: February 8, 1966, DOD: March 30, 1968
Mike Gallo and Linda (Gallo) Jelacich are joined by their family and members of the Merced College Board of Trustees to cut the ribbon at the Peter J. Gallo Veterans Resource Center at Merced College (September 28, 2017).
The center was named in honor of their brother who was killed in action in Vietnam. Merced College Board Trustee Carmen Ramirez, Merced College Board Trustee Joe Gutierrez and Merced College President Chris Vitelli are joined by Mike and Lori (Rossi) Gallo, Linda and Kenny Jelacich, their daughter Ann Marie Jelacich, Mrs. Joseph E. Gallo, Mike’s son Peter C. Gallo and cutting the ribbon is Mike and Lori Gallo’s son Marco Gallo.
The Merced County Honor Guard
Presenting the colors during the Peter J. Gallo Veterans Resource Center at Merced College ribbon cutting ceremony on September 28, 2017.