Chelsea’s Worldwide Humanitarian: Juan Gallego Has Been a Force in Rotary’s International Community Service Projects

Ever since Juan Gallego came to Chelsea more than four decades ago, the main theme of his life has been helping others less fortunate overcome adversity.

“I came here on April 10, 1980,” said Gallego, who was 16 years old at the time.

Gallego joined the Rotary Club of Chelsea 23 years ago, and it has been through that outstanding organization that he has become a force in community service locally and internationally. Gallego is a past Rotary president and has been recognized numerous times with prestigious awards (He is an eight-time Paul Harris Fellow Award recipient, for example), but fellow Rotarians and community leaders know that Gallego doesn’t do it for the acclaim or the adulation.

“Juan Gallego is one of the leading people in Chelsea who is always giving back to the community,” said Councilor-at-Large Leo Robinson. “He goes above and beyond and never looks for any recognition. He’s just a solid human being.”

Traveling to Colombia this Month for Rotoplast International

Juan Gallego will be traveling to Colombia later this month as an assistant director of a 29-member medical and non-medical team of volunteers for a Rotaplast International mission to perform 129 cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries for children at the General Hospital of Medellin. Rotaplast International is headquartered in San Francisco.

This will be Gallego’s ninth trip to Colombia. Through the years, Gallego and other team members have helped more than 26,000 children.

“It’s a beautiful mission, 100 per cent beautiful,” said Gallego. “It gives me a sense of helping someone that otherwise would not have been able to receive help. To be able to do that, I feel like it’s a gift that God gives us. It gives me more than I give, and it affects everyone on our team in the same way.”

Juan Gallego has two children, Matthew, 20, who is a student at Suffolk University, and Melissa, 17, a senior at Malden Catholic High School.

Melissa Gallego, who is fluent in Spanish, will be accompanying her father on the trip to Colombia to assist in translations.

“What Juan is doing in Colombia for those children is unmatched,” said Leo Robinson. “It’s outstanding what he is doing for children in need of medical assistance there and what he has done for Chelsea people his whole life.”

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