Snapshots of two New Mexico soldiers

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By Associated Press


Army Spc. Joseph L. Gallegos

When he was a boy, Joseph Gallegos once found a hawk with a broken wing, nursed it back to health and let it go.

When he was working for the U.S. Forest Service in 2007, Gallegos came across a burning truck, saw a man inside and pulled him to safety. Gallegos — the lifesaver — took jobs as a firefighter, an ambulance driver and a policeman.

He served four years in the active Army. Later, he joined the New Mexico National Guard.

“He was always taking different jobs, but they always put him in the service of others,” said the guardsman’s brother Donald Gallegos. “He was always very proud of the fact that he was serving.”

While serving in Tallil, Iraq, Gallegos died Oct. 28 of a heart attack. He was a vehicle mechanic with the 720th Transportation Company out of Las Vegas, N.M. He was 39 years old.

The youngest in a family of four girls and two boys, Gallegos was raised in Questa, N.M., by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Adonario Gallegos.

Gallegos graduated from Questa High School, and roomed with his cousin Jamie Archuleta at New Mexico Highlands University in the mid-1990s.

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