SAN ANTONIO – District 10 City Councilman Mike Gallagher has a long history of public service. Some still call him “colonel," but his other claim to fame isn’t nearly as well known.
Originally from New Mexico, Gallagher grew up with seven brothers and sisters. One of them, his twin sister, lives in San Antonio.
“I think it's probably the bedrock of establishing somebody as a politician,” he laughed, “because the one thing you have to do is fight for attention.”
Gallagher was drafted into the Air Force after he graduated from New Mexico State with a political science degree. He began serving as an air traffic controller but then transferred to public affairs.
That career eventually led to a job working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and at the White House during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
“I always was impressed with Ronald Reagan,” Gallagher said. “Whenever we had some big event, the first people he'd come talk to were those in uniform.”
Gallagher said he remembers meeting stars like Jimmy Stewart and Tammy Wynette while he worked for the actor-turned-president.
His military career first brought him to San Antonio in the 1980s and he vowed to return.
The importance of staying fit has stayed with Gallagher following his military career. He started a walking group that meets every morning to trek 3 miles.
In what free time comes sparingly as a council member, Gallagher likes to spend it woodworking, a hobby he’s had since he was 11 years old.
Back to that claim to fame.
During his military career, Gallagher carved the northern-most totem pole in the U.S. at Point Barrow, Alaska.
“I got the biggest kick out of folks that sent me pictures later on," he said. "You know, 20, 30 years later. The darn thing is still up there and hanging on."
His service around the world carries over to his service today in the Alamo City.
"I drive my council colleagues crazy, because I believe if you're going to have a meeting that starts at 9, start at 9,” Gallagher said. “So they always say, 'OK, colonel, we're here. We're ready. Let's go.’”