For the residents of Chelsea and his fellow members of the Rotary Club, it will come as no surprise that Juan Gallego traveled to Texas to help South Houston-area residents with an incredible display of voluntary assistance.
Gallego, 58, has been an ambassador of goodwill for Chelsea Rotary and living symbol of the Rotary motto, “Service Above Self.” In the past while representing Chelsea Rotary in his native Colombia, Gallego helped develop health care centers in remote areas of the country. He also organized and executed a Rotary project to assist children in need of cleft palate surgery.
Earlier this month Gallego and a team of volunteers headed to Texas to repair homes that had been devastated by a severe winter storm which caused power outages and broken water pipes in homes.
“We fixed up 18 homes that had no water because all the pipes were burst,” said Gallego. “We were there working for ten days. We had plumbers and we had helpers. I was a helper. We did a total re-piping of the homes.”
All of Gallego’s repairs to South Houston-area homes were done free of charge. Interestingly, one of the days that Gallego was in Texas was March 10, which was the Chelsea community leader’s 58th birthday.
“It was the best birthday gift I ever had, being down there working and helping people,” said Gallego.
Kate Robinson, volunteer coordinator at Fuller Center Disaster Rebuiders, expressed her gratitude to Gallego and his team in a heartfelt email.
“We are so grateful to Juan Gallego and his crew of Sam, Manny and John coming to Texas to help so many homeowners affected by the Texas winter storm,” wrote Robinson. “They did an awesome job. Now these homeowners have water and do not have to depend on bottled water or water carried into the house from buckets from their neighbors or relatives.”
Gallego was proud to represent Chelsea Rotary in his humanitarian endeavor. “Our club has totally supported me,” he said.
A few years ago, Gallego was honored as an “Unsung Hero” at a tremendous regional event that drew hundreds of Rotary members. While the pandemic has curtailed those large events for now, there’s a very good chance that Juan Gallego will be receiving some much-deserved recognition again in front of his peers.
But that’s not why Juan Gallego does what he does for others as the “Unsung” in Unsung Hero aptly suggests.
Gallego came to the United States from Colombia 41 years ago. He has two children, Matthew, who is a student at Suffolk University, and Melissa, who is a high school student.