Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tom Galante serves Bayview

This article was first published in Bayview Footprints Local News print edition, Summer 2008. 

When Tom Galante landed a job back in 1970 as a teller at Bay View Federal Savings and Loan (now US Bank) on the corner of Third and Quesada, he didn't realize how it would shape his life.

Tom Galante was pictured (left) in the New Bayview News in 1985 when he managed the Bayview Federal Savings and Loan on 3rd and Quesada Avenue.

In 1973, Galante bought a house half a block away from the bank where he worked.  He became immersed in the neighborhood's community-building work, and retired from the bank in 1995 as Vice President and Community Banking Center Manager.

"So many people knew me by the time I retired that I grew a beard for awhile just so I could walk down the street without having a hundred conversations," he joked recently.

Galante joined the BMA in 1972, and served as the organization's president for five years. During his tenure, the scope of the BMA's activity expanded from a four block radius to most of the 94124. He was solely responsible for "temporarily" blocking off what is now known as Mendell Plaza, a contribution that lives on to this day.

Galante also served on Mayor Feinstein's Third Street Task Force, was a founder of the Network for Elders, joined the board of the South Bayshore Community Development Corporation, and was a commissioner of the Southeast Community Facility for four years.

Even before Bayview became the epicenter of Galante's busy universe, "service" was an important value to him. In fact, he served in the US Navy during the Vietnam War, and was involved in the recovery of three Apollo space capsules.

Galante is a Co-Founder of Quesada Gardens Initiative, and serves on the organization's Board of Directors.  He is known as the "Ambassador of Quesada." It's a fitting title, and reminds newer Quesada and other Bayview residents how broad the shoulders are on which we all stand.

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