Mission Worker

Zulma Gallego is a Mechanic with a mission. The American employee maintains aircraft in Miami, where she lives with her family.

When she’s not maintaining planes, Gallego — called Zu by her friends and family — conducts humanitarian missions to South America.

Her first trip was in 1993, when she accompanied her parish priest on a mission. “There were families living in cardboard houses,” she says. “I saved my money and invited friends and coworkers to help.” Less than a year later, she and her son delivered supplies to a village in her native Colombia.

Gallego relies on American’s Cargo operation to transport duffel bags filled with the donated supplies. She arranges for buses to carry the supplies to remote villages.

“On the first day, we walk through the town visiting families and distributing tickets to each child. We carry flashlights because we finish long after dark,” she says. The next day, Gallego and her group cook for hundreds of people from the village. On day three, the children redeem their tickets for items such as shoes and school supplies. On the fourth day, Gallego delivers food to families.

In 2012, Gallego logged more than 250 hours with her mission work. In March of 2013, Gallego and several American employees were flown to Washington, D.C., where each received the President’s Volunteer Service Award for 2012, signed by President Barack Obama, for outstanding volunteer service and civic participation.

Gallego is planning to build a house for a large family in the village. She says, “I believe we need to share what we have and help others.”

Visit leonchildren.org to learn more.

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