Volunteer is a people person

Don Galleher has a passion for helping others and considers himself lucky to have done what he loves both in his career and in retirement.

“I’ve been the president of practically everything in Glendale at one time or another,” said Galleher, 78, with a chuckle.

Currently the director of youth ministries at the Glendale First United Methodist Church and the president of the Glendale Rotary Foundation, Galleher has served the Glendale community for decades.

Galleher has served as president to the Glendale YMCA, the Glendale Assn. for the Retarded Foundation, the Glendale Character and Ethics Project and as a board member to the Harry Keller Educational Foundation.

“I’m a big believer that if you are going to live in the community, you should give something back to it,” he said.

Born and raised in Glendale, Galleher graduated from Hoover High School and attended Glendale College and Occidental College, graduating with a degree in history. Married to his wife, Mary, for 54 years, together they have two children and four grandchildren.

For 20 years he served as vice president of the Arthur Clark Publishing Co. in Glendale, and for 17 years as the director of financial development for the Glendale Family YMCA, working in annual and capital campaigns with emphasis in endowment development.

Now in retirement from full-time work, Galleher is primarily involved with the Methodist Church, in addition to his involvement and volunteer work at various local organizations. He does fundraising consulting for the YMCA and other nonprofit groups, is involved in the Occidental Alumni Assn. and is a frequent keynote speaker and emcee at events.

“He’s an amazing speaker,” Rotary Foundation board member Ann Ransford said. “He just has a presence about him that is so wonderful, so amazing, and you just look up to him so much.”

Galleher’s work with the community has been widely recognized — he has won five “Man of the Year” awards from various Glendale organizations, including the Glendale Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce.

“He seems to be in everything and does everything well,” said Sharon Townsend-Roth, foundation director of Glendale Assn. for the Retarded.

Galleher refers to himself as the “oldest youth director in captivity.” At the Methodist Church he works with junior high, high school and some college students from the community. He also conducts chapel for preschoolers once a week.

Once a year Galleher helps organize a youth mission trip. This year they will head up to a Native American reservation in Northern California to paint houses and improve the quality of life and homes on the reservation, he said.

Working with the youth is one of Galleher’s strong points, said Ransford, who serves on the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees.

“I’m sure you could find hundreds of kids who have been influenced by his positive attitude and good moral fiber,” she said.

Galleher said he enjoys working with all age groups, “from preschool to senior citizens to middle school and high school kids.”

People enjoy being with him as well, Townsend-Roth said.

“Don is the father that everyone wants to have,” she said. “I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like him.”

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