'A good life so far': Walton County resident, Destin condo builder looks back

eloy gallegoes

Eloy "Pancho" Gallegos outside his home in Santa Rosa Beach. Left to him by his wife's grandparents, the home was originally built in the 1800s.

Jennie McKeon | The Sun
Published: Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 04:21 PM.

Eloy "Pancho" Gallegos has seen a lot of the United States and even some of Africa during a short stint with the Air Force  — and yet his favorite place is home in Santa Rosa Beach .

"This area has the prettiest beaches in the world," he said. "It's the prettiest area of all the places I've visited and worked. And Florida is the prettiest state."

Gallegos was born in New Mexico. Both of his parents died when he was just a toddler and so he was raised by his grandfather, a full-blood Apache Indian. While he never visited the reserves of his ancestry, Gallegos had a taste for the Indian lifestyle raising horses and sheep on his grandfather's property.

"I've worked hard all my life," he said.

When he was sixteen, he left home to join the Air Force. His grandfather helped him lie on the application.

"I think he wanted me out of his way because I was trouble," Gallegos said with a laugh.

He spent four years serving his country; six months were spent in North Africa. He carried on his hobby of boxing, something he picked up in high school, and acquired his nickname.

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