Our UFCW Local 152 members come from many unique and diverse backgrounds and perform great deeds outside of work. Some members choose to go above and beyond their daily activities and make a difference in their communities, like our very first Local 152 Leader: Michelle Gallagher, a Frozen Foods Manager of Acme Markets in Manahawkin, New Jersey. Michelle is a thirty-year union member and shop steward of her store, and while this is impressive enough, today she is highlighted for more than her union service.
Michelle is married to Staff Sergeant Timothy Gallagher, an Ammunition Specialist for the Army National Guard’s Woodbridge, New Jersey unit. Her husband Timothy has been an active member in the military for over 20 years, including a tour in Afghanistan in 2011, and was once again deployed overseas this past February with a neighboring unit.
In addition to her management role at Acme, Michelle Gallagher serves as the unit leader of the Vineland, NJ Family Readiness Group (FRG), an organization offering support and information for military families. The Family Readiness Group is crucial for military families primarily because it offers various levels of assistance and resources–like command information for the unit itself–while also acting as a bridge between the command and the families of the unit. While their loved ones are off serving our country, the FRG is a resource that allows the soldier’s family members to feel as connected and informed as possible – and our own union comrade, Michelle, is voluntarily the leader of the Vineland group.
So what does this mean? In addition to being an information center, the Family Readiness Group also acts as a social center with activities and events, many of which Michelle has personally organized. After the unprecedented damage of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, Timothy’s unit was unexpectedly assigned on a humanitarian mission in an effort to help the island. Given very short notice and a small fund, Michelle personally organized and prepared a dinner for an estimated 200 soldiers and their families as a farewell. “It was a great honor to be able to do that for the men and women of the New Jersey National Guard,” she says.
The FRG also offers practical tools for adjusting to life without their deployed family member, such as listing job opportunities, discount programs, daycare, and other coordinated family activities. Michelle personally distributes this information to members of the FRG via e-mail and on social media sites like Facebook. In addition to information distribution, as the leader of the Vineland group Michelle collects school supplies and toys for the children of military families to make the time without their loved ones as special as possible for the children.
Great job Michelle! The staff at UFCW Local 152 would like to commend you on your efforts in the community and your role in personally overseeing the Vineland, NJ unit’s Family Readiness Group.