February is designated Black History Month, a month in which we reflect on the great contributions made by this community of heroes. I want to especially thank someone who played a transformational role in my life. Let me explain!
As a young, naive Lieutenant in Vietnam, I ‘commanded’ a five-man team of Advisors. We lived with the Vietnamese and supported their Popular and Regional Forces. One of my team members was named Hindu, an African American E7, Special Operations Forces qualified, Infantryman. Being from Northern Minnesota, not an area known for diversity, my experience with African Americans was limited. I was blessed to have gotten to know Hindu. On evening nights when all was quiet, we would talk. As time went on, Hindu would open up a little more and share some of his experiences as a young African American man growing up in Mississippi. Not something we as a nation could be proud of! Hindu taught me more during these evening talks than I ever would gain in a ‘diversity seminar.’ Thank you Hindu for being a part of my life, and I think of you as well as Mazz, Ketchum, and Bent!
The New Year has brought with it a lot of excitement and challenges as we continue our mission. The biggest item on my to-do-list is finding a replacement for our Deputy Commissioner of Veterans Homes, Michael Gallucci and the construction projects at the Minneapolis Veterans Home.
As you may have heard/read, Mike Gallucci has decided to retire and return to his family in Georgia. He will be missed - especially by me. Known for his frank talk and attention to detail, he has proven to be the ‘mover and shaker’ in enabling the agency to move forward on completing the three phase construction project at the Minneapolis Veterans Home.
Mike came to the agency at a critical time. His experience and vision pushed the Homes forward. Under his leadership the Minneapolis Home has made significant progress in putting the campus on a pathway to completion. He was the classic right man at the right time! Please make it a point to give Mike a ‘high-five’ and a sincere ‘Thank You’ for his service! Mike will be with us working as hard as he can until March 21st. He is leaving it better than he found it!! Thanks Mike!!!