The Nick Gallo Award was presented on Monday, April 27, 2009 at the Mazatlan breakfast event at Tianguis Turistico in Acapulco. It was a magnificent ceremony! Below is the speech given by Nick’s son, Alex. The winner: Dan Millington for his article “The Lure of Loreto” published in Horizon Air Magazine.
Millington, a Southern California native, has provided creative writing and photography to the publishing, advertising, and travel industries for more than 15 years. As a writer/photographer Dan has contributed to many publications such as, Moon’s Baja Handbook, AAA’s Mexico TravelBook, Fodor’s Yucatán Gold Guide, Departures Magazine, Caribbean Travel & Life Magazine, Orange County Magazine, and Horizon Air Magazine. His photography of Mexico and Africa has also been featured in a variety of newspapers.
Alex Gallo’s Speech at the first ever “Nick Gallo Award” presentation:
I would like, first of all, to express deep thanks from my family to Dave Simmonds, Lydia Gregory and Lisa Coleman for welcoming me here today, and for their respective roles in the creation of the Nick Gallo Award. I would also like to thank Mexico Boutique Hotels, AeroMexico and Javier Paez, Marketing and Public Relations director for the Mazatlan Hotel Association, for arranging this breakfast.
For those of you who didn’t know my father, or for those who knew him only slightly, Nick Gallo was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut on July 12, 1950, lived for most of his adult life–almost thirty years–in Seattle, Washington, and died just over eighteen months ago, in October of 2007, on assignment in Athens, Greece. He was fifty seven years old.
Over the course of his career, my father visited many countries in his capacity as travel writer, but Mexico was, until the end, his favorite subject. For almost two decades he wrote about Mexico’s diverse and exuberant culture for magazines such as Alaska Airlines, Hemisphere, and Travel & Leisure, consistently augmenting their pages with his unique blend of creativity, imagination, and compassion. Twice he was the recipient of the prestigious Pluma de Plata award, among others. And this year, just over eighteen months since his death, I’m proud, if ultimately saddened, to be present for the presentation of the first annual “Nick Gallo Award,” given in recognition of writing excellence with a focus on Mexico travel and culture.
My mother, Laurie Brown, not able to be here today, asked me to read the following in her place:
“Every year when Nick went to Tiangius I felt like I was sending him off to camp. I got to go to summer camp when I was a kid and Nick never did, so I would kid him that this was his summer camp, where he would get to hang out with his buddies once a year and the weather was warm . I never went myself, I just heard about it, except for one year that I got to meet him in Zihuatanejo. It was one of the years he won the Pluma de Plato. He won the Pluma twice–one time he was so excited because he got to shake Presidente Fox’s hand. Not that he agreed with his politics, but it was a memorable event for him.
The first several years he went there were lots of journalists, over 200 or so. First he would go to Tiangius, and than he would spend three or four days on an adventure somewhere else. Usually I stayed home with the kids, so it seemed like a long time that he was gone.
After 9-11, when tourism shrank, so did the number of journalists who were invited to go to Tianguis. He would always be surprised that he had made the list, and was delighted to see his buddies. I would hear all the stories when he got home: my friend from San Diego . . . or from Colorado . . . or Texas . . .
I think today that Nick must be there with you, with his smiling eyes and beautiful gri,n thinking that he had you all fooled. He never thought of himself as special. Nick and I were partners for almost 36 years, and although I always felt lucky, I had no idea until his death how many people he touched, even if it was only in a small way, because of his compassion and concern for others. I’m sorry I can’t be there with you today, but please have a tequila–or two or three–for Nick, with Nick, and congratulations to Dan for winning the first annual Nick Gallo Award. And finally, many thanks to Dave and Lydia and Lisa for making this happen in Nick’s honor. I hope to be able to come to camp next year and meet you all.”
About the design of the Nick Gallo Award:
“I am a printmaker and in memory of Nick I struggled all year to create a print in his memory. Last year for our son Noah’s graduation from High School, we were able to go on a trip to Peru that was covered by Nick. I say that because on his last time in Tiangius on his return to Seattle he was bumped and received a voucher that allowed Noah to go to Peru. While there, the Inca Calendar, which is presented in a circle, intrigued me. That inspired me to create a print using the Mexican Loteria game that I am sure you are all familiar with. I chose the symbols that I felt best related to our life using the rooster-El Gallo as the center. The rose was for his mother, Rose, and the cactus of course for Tequila. The print is originally a linocut print and I felt that it was apropos for this award.” –Laurie Brown
Comments about the article from the judges:
According to John Youden of Mexico Boutique Hotels, “…the author makes good use of his allotted space, and the images go with it very well. It captured my attention and made me want to go back! As well, it is well documented with the important information a traveler would need if so desiring to make the trip.”
In the words of Thelma Goucher of AeroMexico, “the one that ‘took me there’ was The Lure of Loreto. The style of the writer is such that it transports you there. He captures the reader’s imagination by creating a story to describe the sites, sounds, history and people of Loreto. Quite frankly I’ve never thought of it as a place to vacation, now; it is in my “to do” list for 2009!”