James B. Conant High School Class of 1971
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James B. Conant High School Class of 1971 - Message Board

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What have we done since '71.
Quote in Reply
Rick Gallas
02-17-2010 08:05pm
I got married in 1973 and I am still married to Paula.  We have two grown kids, Ryan (31) and Kelli (27).  Both of our kids are married and expecting their first children this Spring.  Following H.S. I went to the University of Evansville and got to play one season of football before Uncle Sam came looking for me.  With a draft number of 14 and being the first class not eligible for college deferments, it was off to the Army (Reserve) for me.  When I got back from basic training and Advanced Individual Training, I went back to college where I met Paula.  We got married in 1973 and lived in Holland, MI.  I worked for BASF until 1982, when I moved to the Specialty Chemical Division of S.C. Johnson Wax.  We moved to Charlotte, North Carolina and I was the salesman for the Southeast Region.  I moved to corporate headquarters in Racine, Wisconsin in 1985 and working in Marketing, Commercial Development and Strategic Planning.  I was a work and learn type person so I got my B.S. Degree from U of Wisconsin - Parkside in Business Administration.  I got recruited out of S.C. Johnson in 1991 going to work for the specialty chemicals branch of Valspar (MN).  The CEO who recruited me from S.C. Johnson left for Crescent Cardboard Co., in Wheeling, IL and he took me with him.  When I left SCJ, I moved to Fox River Grove, IL.   In 1994, my son got me to join the Fox River Grove Fire Department as a volunteer fireman so that we could spend some father / son time together on training nights.  He joined as a cadet.  Well it wasn't to long afterward that there was a major incident that pretty much changed my direction.  In 1995, a school bus was struck by an Express Metra train killing 7 Cary Grove students.  This was my son's school bus and luckily, we had purchased Ryan pickup truck to drive to school the year before.  But FRG is a close town and we knew everyone.  My wife Paula had joined the fire department by then and she was actually on the first ambulance to respond.  The accident occured about 50 yards from the fire house.   Well by then, my job with Crescent Cardboard had me traveling the U.S. and Europe and I was not home much.  I decided to start my own marketing consulting company in late 1995, and Angelstreet Enterprises, Inc. was born on July 1, 1996.  Angel Street kept me home and I was fortunate to be able to watch most of my daughters high school and college softball games.  Kelli was a pitcher.  (At least you'll find one Gallas in the IHSA record books.)  The fire department element continued to grow over the years to the point where I began working shifts of 24 hours on and 48 hours off.  Ultimately, I left Fox River Grove and went to Batavia Fire for a period of time, and when Paula and I wanted to move from Fox River Grove, the Richmond Fire Chief position opened up and we landed in Richmond, IL.  Being out of the corporate life for almost 10 years, I thought Richmond Fire provided me a chance to create something better again.  So I have bee the Fire Chief at Richmond for five years.  I am a Firefighter III /Paramedic as well.  We have come a long ways in these short 5 years but have a ways to go.  We staff the station 24/7/365 and are making a difference in many lives.  It is very rewarding to me as my wife and son are also Firefighter/Paramedics on the department as well.  That's my 38+ years.  What is yours?

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