At the regular meeting of the Westchester County Board of Legislators on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, Minority Leader Jim Maisano and his colleagues took a break from budget negotiations to honor a truly extraordinary young man from Legislator Maisano’s district. Jake Gallin is nine years old, a student at Ward Elementary School in New Rochelle, and he addressed the Board of Legislators about efforts to support of our troops and their families. After his speech, it was made “Jake Gallin Day” in Westchester County.
Jake founded a program called “Stars for Cars” in support of America’s “Blue and Gold Star Families.” The program raises money for the USO by selling blue and gold star decals to be placed on cars. The cost of the decal is $10 and can be purchased at: http://www.starsforcars.org.
Jake was inspired to support the families of American military service members while watching the Oprah show, where Michelle Obama discussed the need to recognize our nation’s “Blue and Gold Star Families.” Jake was impressed by a statistic from the show that 1% of Americans are fighting to protect the other 99%. The designation of “Gold Star” is given to families who had a family member killed in the service of our country. A “Blue Star” designation is an honor for families currently with a son or daughter in combat areas. Also on this Oprah episode was Teresa Arciola from Greenburg. Mrs. Arciola is a “Gold Star Mother,” whose son Michael lost his life in Iraq in 2005. Mrs. Arciola was in the chambers when Jake made his speech to the legislators, and she received a standing ovation. Jake’s teacher Elizabeth Tatarka was honored by the Board for her support and participation in helping Jake work on his projects to help the families of our troops. Jake was also joined by his parents, Ally and Tom Gallin.
Legislator Maisano, who served in Marine Corps, said, “I am very pleased to recognize Jake’s tremendous efforts on behalf of military families. For Jake to take on this challenge at 9 years old really is an awesome example not just to his peers but to all of us, who enjoy our freedoms thanks to our brave military men and women. Jake is wonderful credit to the young people of Westchester.”