John Gallagher knows what’s important to him. You’d expect that from a man who used to jump out of airplanes at ten thousand feet in 150 degrees below zero temperatures, when he was a paratrooper stationed in Alaska. This is a Brooklyn dad who knows what counts. That’s why, when his ex-wife told him she was moving upstate, Gallagher knew that he wanted his sons to stay with him.
“I told her, ‘If you take the kids with you, I am going to move up there and buy the house next to you. I am not going to be a part-time dad,’” Gallagher recalls. He took custody of what he valued most, and he’s been raising his sons ever since.
Nine years have passed since then, and Gallagher’s sons are now 14 and 20 years-old. As a carpenter for the city, as well as the cook, personal shopper, laundry man and everything in between for the household, Gallagher can still say that he “wouldn’t trade a day of it,” he says. “Whatever I may have sacrificed to do this, it was the greatest choice to make.”
Gallagher admits to having made a “bunch of mistakes,” especially in the beginning, as a dad, and he took parenting courses to keep on track. But, look at him now: he was honored last year as an outstanding father at the NYC DADS Matter Awards at Gracie Mansion. Gallagher’s sons attended the event with him, and the young sports fans got a big kick out of meeting Mayor Bloomberg and the Knicks’ Carmello Anthony.
Boys their age aren’t easily impressed—when their dad talks about his paratrooper days, they tend to roll their eyes—but the trip to Gracie Mansion was different. “They were writing on Facebook that I won father of the year,” Gallagher says. “I don’t think my feet touched the ground for a week.”
Spoken like a real paratrooper pop.