Oakdale Police officer Sammy Gallego has been recognized by that city’s elected leaders for helping save the life of a 10-year-old boy.
The 26-year-old patrolman is the son of veteran Manteca officer Sam Gallego who — after retiring after 30 years — is working part-time as a school resource officer at Manteca Unified schools.
The Oakdale City Council on Monday presented Gallego with a life-saving award for going to the aid of a 10-year-old who was in Pho Vietnamese restaurant in Oakdale choking on his food. Gallego was off duty when he was having lunch on Oct. 20 and saw the commotion at a nearby table with the mother screaming for help. The family was on their way to visit Yosemite from England when food became lodged in the boy’s throat. One witness said Gallego casually walked over to the family, picked the boy up and gave him the Heimlich thrust three times — the last one worked with a large chunk of meat popping out of the youth’s mouth. Gallego said the boy had stopped breathing and had collapsed across the table with his mom screaming for help when he stepped up and went into action. When the boy came around and started breathing Gallego rubbed his back and consoled him saying that he would be OK. Gallego started working for Oakdale Police after returning from duty in the Far East war zone guarding generals.
The Oakdale officer with strong ties to Manteca and its officers in frequent ride-alongs received his bachelor’s degree in January from Ashford University in Criminal Justice. He graduated at the top of his class.