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On the Town: Longtime Rotary Club member honored for service to country, community

On the Town: Longtime Rotary Club member honored for service to country, community
Glendale City Councilwoman Paula Devine presents Rotarian Don Galleher the Mayor's Commendation for 53 years of service to the community. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Don Galleher, longtime member of the Glendale Noon Rotary Club, was honored by club members last Thursday.

The festivities were a big surprise to him. His wife, Mary, was sworn to secrecy. The Embassy Suites in Glendale was the scene of the fun and, more seriously, the honoring of war veterans.

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Galleher served in World War II. He has also served Glendale for 53 years in many volunteer positions. Most notably, as leader of a youth group at the Glendale First United Methodist Church.

Glendale City Councilwoman Paula Devine presented Galleher with the Mayor’s Commendation for service to the community in front of some 50 members and their guests.

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At the event, Sevada Hemelians, Rotary president, introduced another vet, Albert Lynn “Lone Wolf” Boles. An Apache Indian in biker garb, Boles still carries shrapnel embedded in the back of his head from serving in the special forces during the last days of the Vietnam War.

Albert Lynn "Lone Wolf" Boles smartly salutes the flag as he leads Glendale Noon Rotary members in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Albert Lynn "Lone Wolf" Boles smartly salutes the flag as he leads Glendale Noon Rotary members in the Pledge of Allegiance. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Boles led Rotarians and guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. Later, he spoke of his healing through his motorcycle club mission and Wellness Works, a Glendale nonprofit that provides advocacy for veterans and their families.

Camille Levee, director of Wellness Works, described the challenges veterans face when they return from their deployments. The organization utilizes professionally licensed therapists and educators to help heal mind and body.

But this was Galleher’s day. Speaker after speaker described his influence on their lives. Elizabeth Manasserian, former club president, spoke movingly of his encouragement. “You can do it” he often told her.

Rotarian Rick Phelan called Galleher “the oldest youth leader in captivity.”

Glendale residents on hand for the tributes included Makiko Nakasone, past president of the club, Irene Bourdon, president of Adventist Health Foundation, and retired surgeon Dr. Sam Carvajal, who had been with Adventist Health Glendale for 42 years.

The program ended with a standing ovation as a tribute to Galleher and his parting words, “Every one of you have meant so much in my life. I’ve grown because of you.”

The guys in Boy Scout Troop 391 sure know how to put on a fundraiser — with a little parental help on the side. Sixty pounds of spaghetti was slurped up in a mere 90 minutes. The dinner was held at the La Crescenta Stake Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Nov. 2.

Tessa Kjelstrom, 4, chows down on spaghetti without the sauce at the Boy Scout Troop 391 Fundraiser in La Crescenta.
Tessa Kjelstrom, 4, chows down on spaghetti without the sauce at the Boy Scout Troop 391 Fundraiser in La Crescenta. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Members of the Verdugo Hills congregation sponsoring Troop 391 pulled out all the stops for a sweet deal. Cookies, cake and candy went for a $1 each at the accompanying bake sale.

Silent and live auctions of the confections helped guests part with their money even faster. Two homemade, braided loaves of bread went for $30 and $31, respectively.

Parent volunteers Wendy Hart and Michelle Barty were organizers extraordinaire. They supervised dinner, dessert, auctions, Scout skits and a Nerf gun shooting gallery. Jaleen Lunt and Adam Becker also helped with the event.

Church missionaries, elders Kyle White and Thomas Toller, were early arrivals. They made a nice dent in the spaghetti, salad, buns and desserts.

Scout Travis Emmerson welcomed guests, as did other troop members. It was a family affair as Travis was joined by parents, Gordon and Chuy Emmerson, and grandmother Laura Emmerson, all from La Crescenta.

More La Crescenta residents included Hayward and Natalie Kjelstrom and their children including Tessa, 4, champion spaghetti eater.

Family dinners of $40 and individual dinners of $15 added to the evening’s coffers. Event proceeds will allow members of Troop 391 to go to camp.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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