Resilience Week: Day 4, February 8, 2024

Resilience Week: Day 4, February 8, 2024

Day 4: Guest Speakers
  • John Gamino
  • Tom Breen

John Gamino


Business Owner

"I was born on August 9, 1947, in the vibrant city of Rochester, New York. Those early years, steeped in the energy of urban life, laid the foundation for the journey that awaited me. Upon graduating from high school, I took a leap into entrepreneurship, founding a janitorial business in 1967. Over the span of 57 years, I nurtured this venture into a thriving enterprise, boasting a dedicated workforce of 600 individuals before bidding farewell to this chapter of my life.

In matters of the heart, I experienced the bittersweet symphony of love, marrying my first wife in 1970 and rediscovering the joys of companionship when I remarried my childhood sweetheart in 1987. The tapestry of my life unfolded further when I made the move to California in 1978, where I raised three children, though not without the sorrow of losing one along the way. Yet, through the trials, I find solace and pride in witnessing the accomplishments of my offspring, particularly as one of my granddaughters pursues her dreams of becoming a professional figure skater.

Beyond my entrepreneurial endeavors, I've ventured into various pursuits, each contributing to the mosaic of experiences that have shaped me. These ventures have been fertile ground for personal and professional growth, nurturing a resilience that has been my steadfast companion in navigating life's ebbs and flows.

In the face of adversity, I've always met challenges head-on, fueled by unwavering determination and a belief in the resilience of the human spirit. While the passage of time may have dimmed certain hopes, particularly in the wake of personal loss, my KJAoptimism remains undiminished, fueled by the bonds of familial love and the inherent strength of the human spirit.

As I embrace the twilight of my years, my pace may have slowed, but my zest for life burns as brightly as ever. Much of my time now revolves around supporting my granddaughters' skating endeavors, reveling in their achievements, and cherishing the bonds forged with friends who have been pillars of strength and support through life's trials.

If there's one thread that runs through my journey, it's my unwavering commitment to growth and resilience, fueled by a thirst for knowledge and a deep appreciation for the power of connection. In this journey, the importance of community and camaraderie has been underscored time and again, serving as guiding lights through life's myriad pathways."

Tom Breen


Retired Veteran

"Born in 1944 in upstate New York, my journey has taken me through various corners of the country and beyond. After spending my formative teenage years in Cleveland, Ohio, I pursued higher education at Ohio State University, where I also became a member of the Army Reserve Officers Training Corp. Following that, in 1966, I attended Infantry Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning in Columbus, Georgia, setting the stage for my military career.

In 1968, I embarked on a deployment to Vietnam, where I served as a rifle platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division, engaged in combat from 1968 to 1969. Upon returning home, I was promoted to Captain and took on an instructional role at the United States Intelligence School in Washington, DC, marking a pivotal transition from the battlefield to the classroom.

Settling back into civilian life in Rochester, NY, I worked as a law clerk while also sharing my knowledge as a Business Law instructor at a local university. It was during this time that I met my future wife, Kathleen, and in 1972, we began our journey together, starting anew in sunny Southern California. Alongside Kathleen, I embraced fatherhood to her son, Steven, and later welcomed two beautiful daughters, Aimee and Lauren, into our lives.

Over the years, I ventured through various career paths, from corporate roles with American Brands in Seattle and Chicago to a rewarding tenure as a stockbroker with E.F Hutton. Eventually, I transitioned into entrepreneurship, exploring ventures in the Environmental, Energy, and Coffee industries.

As I entered semi-retirement, I found fulfillment in giving back to the community through volunteer work in the Orange County Veterans community and the American Society For Suicide Prevention. Reflecting on my journey, I am immensely grateful for my loving wife of 52 years, my three remarkable children, and my five cherished grandchildren. Their presence has brought immeasurable joy and purpose to my life.

Moreover, I am proud to celebrate 50 years of sobriety through the support of Alcoholics Anonymous, a testament to the strength and resilience that has guided me through life's challenges.

Life has been a great adventure and I believe the best is yet to come."

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