Ernie Gallego - Handmade By Heroes

Ernie Gallego

November 03, 2017

Ernie Gallego

Ernie has had over 40 years in leather experience and is a 20 year Veteran.
Ernie designed our leather range for us and prepares the leather by Dying, conditioning, cutting and preparing the leather to be assembled by our US Veterans who then assemble your product for you. 
Ernie served for 20 years and was deployed overseas 11 times.
Thank you for your service Ernie and thank you for helping so many US Veterans by sharing your skills. 

More About Ernie: 
I joined the Army right after high school in June of 1985.  I was an intelligence collector and military linguist my  MOS was 98G and I attended the Defense Language Institute (DLI) at the Presidio of San Francisco for Spanish.  I became a paratrooper in 1987 and served in the 82d Airborne Division until December of 1988.  In a January of 1989 I returned to DLI at the Presidio of Monterey (POM) for German.  I later served in 4th Infantry Division (mechanized) from 1990 to 1992.  I returned to Fort Bragg, NC and was assigned to 2d Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) from late April 1992 until December 1995.  I returned to DLIPOM for Arabic in January of 1996.  I was then assigned to a strategic unit at Fort Gordon, GA.  In 1999 I requested to be assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Carson, CO.  I served there from August 1999 until I retired on July 1st 2005.

My overseas deployments include:
Columbia - April to July 1993 - Detachment 4 - attached to 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) 
Puerto Rico - March 1994 - To Train the Regional Security System (Caribbean) - 2/3 SFG(A)
Attached to DEA - August 1994-January 1995 - (Dom. Rep, Jamaica & Barbados)
Haiti - February 1995 - 2/3 SFG(A)
Kosovo - December 2000-February 2001- 2/10 SFG(A)
Special Activities Detachment, 10th SFG(A) - March 2001 - March 2002
Kosovo - 2/10 SFG(A) - March-April 2002
Georgia Train and Equip, Republic of Georgia  - 2/10 SFG(A) - April - August 2002
Operation Iraqi Freedom - (initial deployment to Constanta Romania - infil March 20, 2003) 3/10 SFG(A) - March April 2003
OIF - 3/10 SFG(A) - January - May 2004
OIF - 2/10 SFG(A) - November 2004-January 2005

In retirement I have worked for Home Depot from March 2005 (started on terminal leave) to April 2006.  Then I worked at the Courthouse in Colorado Springs, CO from April 2006 until December 2008.  In late 2008, I decided to return to college full time and be a stay at home dad.  I attended PPCC but in 2010 I found myself 5 years into a 2 year degree program because PPCC kept dropping classes.  I ended moving back to the San Luis Valley, located in south central Colorado, my ancestral home.

Ernie and Leather. 
I have been doing leatherwork for about 40 years.  I first tried it in 4th grade and loved it.  By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was teaching some aspects of leatherworking for my arts and crafts teacher.  In the military, I put my craft on the shelf for a while due to my affinity for photography.  I returned to leatherwork in 2002 by making leather flask wraps for guys that were leaving the unit or getting out of the military.  This soon expanded to day planners, wallets and other items.  I started selling at craft shows in the Colorado Springs area (between deployments, of course).  After I retired I continued this as it augmented my income.  My original company, Elk Country Leather was closed in 2008 due, in part, to my divorce and extended custody battle (which continued until late 2011). 

I reopened as Mountain Monkeys Leather in December of 2009. I named my company this because I was a single father of my two daughters that I call the monkeys.  We were always in the mountains and we created things in leather.  Now in 2017 I have partnered with Eagle Six Gear and Handmade by Heroes to get them leather armbands that are assembled by the veterans that they hire.  We started this association earlier this month (October 2017) and I hope that this continues for the foreseeable future.

I hope to be opening a small gift shop in Del Norte, Colorado within the next year.  I will hand craft 85% of what we will sell in the store and the other 15% will be T-shirts, hats, stickers and ceramics from other veteran owned companies.  I also hope to be in a position to hire other veterans as a way to help my brothers and sisters in arms both financially and emotionally.  The latter will be accomplished by apprenticing other veterans in both leather and wood working because I found that doing leather and wood working helps me to stave off the symptoms of PTSD.



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