Air Force Veteran’s life of service beyond the military

CBS7 Salute to Service
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 7:24 AM CST
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) - Stan Galarza has had a storied life, from an EMT in the Big Apple to a radio host, he’s had a knack for helping others. That passion led him to join the Air Force.

“I just made the age cutoff, 27.5, so I was considered old in the service at that time and I ended up being an aircraft technician. I worked on C5s, those are cargo planes and the C141, C130s, KC135s,” Galarza said.

Part of his 20 years in the Air Force also took him overseas where he served during the Gulf War. For five years of his service he worked as an Aircraft Technician. The other 15 he served as an Aerospace Medical Technician.

“I got a chance to work in hyperbaric chambers doing chamber dives to do skin grafts on burnt soldiers,” Galarza said.

Galarza performed many different tasks including physicals, search and rescue, he was also responsible for flight-line emergency response among other things.

A native of New York City, Galarza said during his two decades in the Air Force, he was proud to serve his country alongside other courageous men and women.

“I enjoyed the people I met, the people I worked with. Dedicated people. I worked with people that knew what a team concept was,” Galarza said, “that’s what military people do, they work together as a team.”

Galarza retired from the Air Force in the year 2000 as a Staff Sergeant. He then became a radio host in Mississippi where he worked heavily with the Hispanic community and helped form the Gulf Coast Latin American Association. Eventually moving to West Texas, he continued as a radio host on local airwaves.

“I told them I’m not really a DJ, and I was more interested in a talk show and they said that’s fine and so it grew,” Galarza said.

Fast forward and Galarza has retired from radio and has found a new calling; driving cancer patients to their appointments for West Texas Gifts of Hope.

“I enjoy it very much. The interaction I have with the patients is the best part of it,” Galarza said, “we have a lot of conversations. We take the worries out of the treatment, during the time they’re in my car. We laugh, we cry, we pray.”

Brenda Medlock, the Executive Director of West Texas Gifts of Hope said Galarza’s role in the organization has been a blessing.

“It’s not just he gives them a ride, he interacts with them. He actually thinks about them, he calls them on his own time. How many people will do that? Just to say ‘yes I transport you to and from your treatments, but I have developed a relationship.’ I know about your family, I know about how your treatments are going. That’s Stan, I mean he goes above and beyond,” Medlock said.

No matter where he is or what he’s doing, his mission to serve others has never wavered. He said he takes pride in his community and his country.

“Let’s talk about pride today, let’s talk about starting all over with having pride in your country.” Galarza said.