Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus has recognized retired Orange-Ulster BOCES social worker Frances Gallardo as the Citizen of the Month Award winner for the month of May.
Gallardo, a lifelong Pine Island resident, has voluntarily tailored suits and dresses for BOCES students attending the annual Raymond C. Cramer Secondary (RCCS) Program Prom for the past 15 years. The RCCS vocational programs serve students ages 14 to 21 with developmental disabilities, accommodating their diverse academic, vocational and socio-emotional needs.
“Frances Gallardo has had a positive impact on hundreds of RCCS students and their families over the years,” said Neuhaus. “Even in retirement, she continues to dedicate her time to help make the prom a memorable experience for them. Frances’ commitment and dedication to the BOCES community is an outstanding example of a caring and giving spirit. That’s certainly something to honor and celebrate.”
Gallardo and two of her former RCCS colleagues, Rose Ann Lombardo and Diana Pulliam, started the BOCES Boutique 20 years ago, collecting used formal wedding and prom dresses and suits from the staff and community for students attending the prom. Five years later, Gallardo, 68, began tailoring the garments for the students.
She retired in 2012 after working at BOCES for 28 years, but still tailors the dresses and suits for the students ever year. Gallardo and her suitcase, which carries her sewing machine, are fixtures at RCCS when prom season arrives. She even makes custom alterations for students.
Gallardo estimates that she has tailored approximately 750 dresses and suits for students over the last 15 years. Her mom, Fran Gasienica, a seamstress, taught her how to do alterations growing up. Gallardo still takes sewing classes and seeks out tips on www.YouTube.com.
Nominate a Citizen of the Month
To nominate someone for the Citizen of the Month Award, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail a letter to: “Citizen of the Month,” 255-275 Main St., Goshen, NY 10924.