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Charles P. Gallagher isn't a boastful man, but his recent induction into the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame is very important to him-not for personal reasons, though.
Instead, the 88 year-old World War II veteran, says, "I take this award as a spokesman for 'The Greatest Generation.'"
Charlie says there are only about 1.5 million World War II veterans living from the original 16 million who were called to serve during the war, "and the recognition I got, to me, is really recognition for each and every one who got called to war."
Charlie grew up in New Haven and, after enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1943, he planned to attend college under the Army Specialized Training Program, but instead was sent to Hawaii to join Company C, 32nd Regiment, 7th Division.
Injured by an exploding hand grenade, for which he later received the Purple Heart, he enrolled in Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and then went on to earn a law degree at Georgetown.
He went on to have a long and successful career as a banker, first in Colorado and then back in Connecticut, before retiring 13 years ago.
He currently lives in the Foxon section of East Haven with his wife, Carol.
While Charlie is retired, his days are still busy as the father of three and a grandfather. He's also a stalwart member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, lending his legal expertise and energies as the state judge advocate.
Among his many successful endeavors, Charlie has been a tireless leader in providing financial guidance to help raise funds for the creation of the first Purple Heart Memorial in Connecticut, rewriting the constitution and bylaws for the organization and supporting combat-wounded veterans by raising funds for a wheelchair-lift vehicle for the West Haven VA Hospital.
When he isn't trying to help out on veterans' issues, the 88 year-old and his 74 year-old wife are avid skiers.
"I hurt myself pretty seriously a while back," Charlie says, "but I plan to be out there this winter on the slopes."
The Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame was established to increase the awareness of the lifetime contributions of veterans after completion of honorable military service. Each year the committee selects at least 10 inductees from applications received from across the state and nation.
Hall of Fame members have been leaders in a variety of areas, such as arts, education, public service, volunteer activities, and community and business leadership, to name a few.
To be eligible for the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame the nominee must have served his or her country honorably in a branch of military service and continued to serve his or her communities, state, and nation after discharge.
The Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame is administered and sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Connecticut Military Department.