Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mickey Gallagher Has Gone Fishing!...

The end of an era of public service, lifesaving, dedication to duty, excellence and focus.  Congratulations to LACoFD-Lifeguard Division Section Chief, William M. Gallagher, aka Mickey!  42 plus years, starting at the age of 17 as a beach lifeguard for the City of Los Angeles.  We wish him well and anticipate that he will find himself dedicated to a new cause in retirement. We're certain of this given the recent press release by LACoFD that Mickey donated hundreds of hours of unused leave time to fellow L.A. County employees who need financial assistance.

County of Los Angeles Fire Dept, "Gifts of Time":

And we were all ready to basically roast him into retirement and the guy does this and shows what a class act he is and we can only shake our heads in admiration.  The undersigned is personally grateful to have been his friend for many years and this unselfish and generous gift only reinforces his admiration, respect and loyalty to this man.  We swam against each other in high school on rival teams... he always won our match ups. We became teammates later at SMC swimming for the legendary Johnny Joseph.  Mickey was still always faster and was even turned into a State finalist in the 100 yard backstroke by JJ.  When I was a senior at UCSB, Mickey drove down to our league finals at Belmont Shore to cheer me on.  This was after he had finished at SDSU the previous year and where he swam for the Aztecs along with other LACo guards, Tom Thorson and Greg Mortimor.

A celebration of Mickey's career will take place on Wednesday nite, May 14, 2014 and we are certain it will be a smashing affair!

Mickey became a permanent lifeguard for L.A. County around 1976 and one of his first assignments as supervisor was at Santa Monica South (SMS).  I'll never forget the day he came up to inspect my tower (T-24).  I had just opened and swept out the tower. At that time T-24 was the old Santa Monica City wood tower that had a right side door with a long counter that ran at the back of the inside of the tower.  It was my habit to take the brush or broom to it before setting anything up on it because it usually had an accumulation of sand on it.  Once swept of the sand I would place equipment back up on the counter... Along comes Senior Ocean Lifeguard (SOL) Gallagher in his truck, he strides up the ramp and says hello and runs the fingers of his right hand along the counter checking for sand...  this brought a smile and a laugh when he looked up and was surprised not to have found any sand on the counter.  LOL!   Classic!  He continued his inspection and indicated that he was impressed with the way I had cleaned up and prepared the tower for the day.  I was stoked, of course... but then again I thought to myself that is how we roll on SMS... on time, on duty, watching the water and making lots of rescues.  Mickey was a great supervisor and all of us loved working with him. If you did your job he let you know it and if you didn't, you heard about it.

Fast forward to the mid 80's and I was working a shift at SMS T-22 on a day when the surf was pumping and there were some strong visible rips.  Gallagher, on a workout, swims out into a huge rip off of SMS T-26 and starts swimming head up back stroke right in the thick of this nasty rip. It was hilarious. He made his point and swam easily back into shore.  On a day off he would often be "dirt bagging" (aka, hanging out) with his daughter, Tori, on the sand at the foot of T-26 and teaching her about the beach and ocean and otherwise basically dirt bagging it while his crew watched the water.

It's probably true that champagne bottles are being uncorked among a resolute group of Venice Beach locals who think its ok to walk their dogs on the beach and leave their poop behind... which we all know Mickey did his darndest to stop and for which he took alot of grief, in spite of the clear ordinance prohibiting dogs on the beach.   And we understand that Mickey still has some unused credits for time at Hot Tub Fever and that the owner has indicated that in celebration of his retirement they are willing to convert this into dollars...

Rumor also has it that the human resources dept. at Brite Boy has made inquiries as to whether Mickey would agree to do some product placement and marketing for them.


There is alot more to Mickey's career and this tribute is not intended to summarize it all.  Mickey has had a profound impact on our Lifeguard Service, particularly with respect to the Dive Team and Rescue Operations.  His organizational expertise was well known and respected by our colleagues in both Lifeguard Operations and Fire Operations.  He worked his tail off for 42 years.  We hope he enjoys many more years in retirement because he has truly earned it.

Respectfully submitted,

Will Maguire

"County Recurrent" News

(All photos by & Copyright Will Maguire.)


The Retirement Party Photos, May 14, 2014:

We've received some photos from both John Thomas and Lynn Topar and we have received their permission to post them here. *** Many Thanks to Lynn and John for sharing their photos with all of us.  We hope you enjoy these photos from Mickey's retirement party:

Oh My Gawd!... Who is the bald dude?!...  :-)

Photo © Lynn Topar 2014.
Photo © Lynn Topar 2014.
 And the balance of photos below were taken by John Thomas.


Epilogue, June 9th, 2014: Mickey Gallagher is retired and eating sushi...

The undersigned having been overseas at the time of Mickey's retirement dinner on May 14, 2014, the editorial staff of this blog cruised by Mickey's house late this afternoon and found him with his feet up eating sushi and in full civilian retirement mode, e.g., plain white t-shirt, jeans and sandals.
We looked for the Wally Schumacker toilet bowl award (see photo above) but could not find it.  We did get permission and were able to take photos of Mickey's other coveted and treasured mementos presented to him that evening of May 14th, and which we are posting below for all to appreciate:

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William Maguire said...

Just in from LACo OL, Eric Moore (Ret.): "Mickey, I hope retirement treats you very well. Although I only guarded with you a short period of time, there is one memory that is imprinted in my mind forever. It is Dodger Stadium, mustard..."

Eric Moore

Rosie said...

We always called him (Mickey) "CODE 3 GALLAGHER) IN THE FIRE PITS.....Then he was a kid who hung out wi
th the guards. Mick you have really come a long way. All the very best in your retirement. Sorry to miss your party, but living in Washington makes it little tough.