2011 Tillman Scholar

Kevin Gallagher

Cleveland State University

Shortly after immigrating to the United States from Ireland, I elected to join the military, enlisting in the U.S. Navy. Forewarned that as a non-U.S. citizen at the time, I would be ‘undesignated’ –doing the dirtiest and most labor-intensive jobs, I didn’t mind. I had a plan and an attraction to the adventure which awaited. After completing a cold and snowy winter boot camp, I was sent overseas, with a permanent home base in Japan. Over the next 4 years, our carrier strike group would complete 7 deployments around the Pacific and Indian oceans, in support of various missions. I would have my eyes opened to every socio-economic class the Southeast Asia region had to offer. 

Following the completion of my enlistment, I quickly completed my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Criminology. During this time, I became involved in leadership positions within various veterans organizations, such as the SVA. This is how I first found out about the Pat Tillman Foundation. I was already familiar with Pat’s legacy, his passing was all over the news shortly after I had moved to America, even recalling a conversation with my dad about him when he learned of my desire to serve. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the 2011 Scholar class, completing my Master’s in Global Interactions. Upon the completion of My Master’s I continued my work in the veteran-focused non-profit realm, where I now act as a Regional Manager for Wounded Warrior Project, just a couple miles away from Pat’s Alma Mater, ASU –where I currently pursue my MBA.