Three years ago, Empire staff photographer Michael Penn took a photograph of a garbage collector emptying a trash can for the city of Juneau in a suit and tie.
When asked about his sartorial choice, Charlie Gallant said, “Why not? I decided I would wear a coat and tie all week. When I look good, I feel good.”
Now Gallant is looking and presumably feeling better than ever, working as a salesperson for a Hyundai dealership in Anchorage. He’s found his own success, but not without some struggle and a lot of hard work.
“It was a rough couple years at first,” Gallant said. “I just kept working hard and made sure people knew I was not afraid to work for whatever I got.”
Growing up in Juneau and moving up to Anchorage two years ago to attend school, Gallant started working as a day laborer for businesses around Anchorage.
“I kinda did everything from labor work from construction and carpeting all the way up to detailing cars and stuff,” Gallant said. “One day I walked into a job fair and talked to a gentleman, and he called me a few days later and offered me a job.”
Gallant started working at the Lithia Hyundai last week, and doesn’t plan to slow down at all.
“I am loving it so far. The people here are helping me, training me up,” Gallant said. “I’m on the fast track to success.”
Gallant credits his fiancée and mother of his child Christina Kadake with his success.
“What I’ve believed most of my life is in order to be successful it’s important to have the right people behind you,” Gallant said. “My fiancée has pushed me out of my comfort zone to this success.”
He’s not content to rest on his laurels. Gallant plans to, in short order, go back to school, audition for an acting job, and get married to Kadake.
“Got big plans, there’s big things coming and I’m excited,” Gallant said.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org.