Dr. Jerry Galloway memorial service planned during SCF

MENDOTA – A memorial ceremony to honor the life and legacy of Mendota native Dr. Jerry Galloway is planned for 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13 on the Sweet Corn Festival main stage on Washington Street next to the Hume-Carnegie Museum. Ken Gehler has orchestrated some Galloway family members and others to speak at the ceremony.

Galloway is a 1956 graduate of Mendota High School. All class members are encouraged to attend and members of Galloway’s family have been invited. The general public is also welcome to the ceremony.

After becoming a doctor, Galloway joined the Peace Corps and he was sent to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in Central Africa from 1974-77. God had a plan and purpose for Galloway’s life, and in 1979 he entered the Missionhurst Novitiate in Arlington, Va. He took vows to become a Brother in 1980 in the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM). CICM sent him to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he lived and worked at the remote Pendjua mission serving the Pygmy and Bantu people for 27 years.

Galloway faced many challenges from government officials, hostile soldiers, witch doctors, cultural beliefs, oppression, betrayal and corruption. Still, he persevered and left his mark in the African jungle when he trained “barefoot doctors” to treat patients in villages connected only by footpaths through the jungle. He also worked tirelessly to build schools and boarding homes for the Batwa Pygmies, whom he described as the “poorest of the poor.”

His work in the Congo was recognized in 2005 when the Medical College of Wisconsin/Marquette Medical Alumni Association presented him with the Humanitarian Award. The award recognized his unselfish service to thousands of Pygmy and Bantu people.

Galloway always stated that his years in the Congo were the happiest, most fulfilling in his life. He shared the good, bad and ugly with his family by writing a letter to them each week. Jerry’s transformation, his great faith and his dedication is an encouragement to many, and his ability to overcome the many challenges he faced in a remote rain forest is truly inspiring.

Kent Galloway, a second cousin to Jerry, received over 1,200 letters that Jerry wrote and has shared those letters in a book, “Courage in the Congo: A Doctor’s Fight to Save the Pygmies,” which tells more of Jerry’s amazing life story.


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