Posted by: marcmwm | April 3, 2009

Gallery, NFL boost East Buchanan

This is Robert Gallery during his days as a tight end for East Buchanan High School. The sixth-year Oakland Raider delivered a $10,000 donation to his high school alma mater Friday.

This is Robert Gallery during his days as a tight end for East Buchanan High School. The sixth-year Oakland Raider delivered a $10,000 donation to his high school alma mater Friday.

When an East Buchanan Buccaneer dives for the end zone pylon next fall, it’ll be brand spanking new thanks to Robert Gallery and the National Football League.

Gallery, 28, visited his hometown and high school alma mater Friday and delivered a donation of $10,000 to East Buchanan’s athletics department.

East Buchanan athletics director Pat Schloss provided a list of items the donation bought. It went from pylons to pads for a seven-man sled to 50 girdles to new game jerseys for the middle school team.

Gallery, who heads into his sixth season with the Oakland Raiders this summer, initially signed a seven-year, $60 million contract when the Raiders drafted him with the second pick overall in the 2004 draft. He’s in a position to give and he’s happy to do it.

“It’s a no-brainer for me,” the 6-foot-7, 325-pound former Hawkeye all-American said Friday. “With the (Parkersburg) tornadoes, talking to (former Hawkeyes) Casey Wiegmann and Jared DeVries, I wanted to do something. The NFL makes it an easy process. It was just a no-brainer for me.”

Gallery donated $5,000 and the NFL, through a league program, matched that for the $10,000 total. According to Schloss, the East Buchanan athletics department tries to maintain a budget of $20,000. The school’s boster club helps with fundraising, providing the trainer for athletics events.

Athletics is self-sufficient, running entirely on gate receipts.

“We’ve got to pick and choose what we spend our money on,” Schloss said. “How often do we get new uniforms? We really have to plan ahead when we need a big ticket item, so this is huge for a school our size.”

The Gallery/NFL donation will help pay for a “running tunnel,” a device used to keep runners and blockers low. By the time the tunnel ships, it’ll cost nearly $3,000.

“We’re self-sufficient and that’s a good thing,” Schloss said. “People don’t want school money going to athletics. We’re laying off teachers because we don’t have funds. At E.B., we don’t use school funds, we use ticket sales.”

In his wildest dreams, Gallery never thought he’d be in a spot to give back to his school in this generous fashion.

“You always dream about things as a kid, making it to the NFL, all that sort of stuff,” said Gallery, whose parents, Mary and Mike, still live in the area. “It’s great for the community and it feels good to be able to do it.”

Since he entered the NFL, Gallery has had a steady tide of charitable opportunities come his way. He said it’s hard to decide which ones to give to and how much.

“There are a million great charities and you can’t get to them all. That was hard for me at first,” he said. “It’s like signing autographs. You can’t sign every autograph everybody wants, which is something I did after Iowa games, standing out there for an hour after games.”

Gallery and his wife, former Hawkeye basketball player Becca McCann, try to donate to charity every year he said.

This year, Gallery is planning a July car cruise event to raise money for the families of the four Oakland police officers killed in a shootout late last month.

“It’s hard,” said Gallery, who hasn’t missed a play in the last two seasons. “I’d go broke if I bought helmets and jerseys every time someone asked. I feel bad about that, but I do get stuff everyday. It’s tough because you want to give to everything. You have to set a budget for what you want to give.”

When Kurt Warner made the Super Bowl this year, the topic of donating to his college alma mater, Northern Iowa, came up. Gallery has donated to the UI, but hopes to do something more in the future.

“We have in our mind what we’d like to do,” he said, referring to his wife. “I think as my career grows, those things are going to change. Maybe I’ll play five more years or seven more years and I’ll be able to do more.”

Robert Gallery on Friday at East Buchanan High School. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Goedken)

Robert Gallery on Friday at East Buchanan High School. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Goedken)

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  1. […] a story I wrote when Gallery and the NFL donated $10,000 to East Buchanan High School […]


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