The Story

My name is John Gallagher, and you need to know who I am because it is my personal experience at the center of the company that you may want to know about in detail. As a sophomore in college in 1968, I enlisted in the U. S. Army Reserves; six months later, I was trained to be a Combat Medic. After returning home, I was assigned to different hospitals as my duty stations for monthly drills.

In 1970 my duty station was Walson Armey Hospital, Fort Dix, NJ, where I was assigned to an amputee ward. One weekend about six months into that duty, I was given one patient to care for and told not to leave him until relieved. He was curtained off in the corner of the ward from the other 120 or so patients. My patient was an 18-year-old soldier who had lost both arms at the shoulder and both legs at the hips.

That weekend I did all that I was trained to do, and I did it with care and concern. Neither of us was there, my patient was what I would call consciously catatonic, and I could not utter a sentence. There was nothing from a simple hello or good morning that I could say that was not insulting to whatever he had in mind. I left that weekend knowing that I would never forget him and realizing that he had just changed my life because I had never before failed so badly as a human being.

I never discussed that incident with anyone. Then, weeks later, I was on a trip from St. Louis to Philadelphia, and all I wanted to do was brush my teeth. As I contemplated what I would need to accomplish that, I thought about my patients who, if they missed brushing their teeth before breakfast came, the time had passed. Moreover, they would not ask a medic to do it throughout the day.

Then without thought, it was an Aha moment, and Clean Bite in its entirety was in my mind's eye, exactly as it is today. The only thing missing was what it would be made of and still be swallowed?
Forty years passed, and at age 60, I knew that I had to make this happen. So, I began in 2009, laying the foundation, and in 2015 it was time to call it quits.

That was when my sister, a Navy Nurse (Ret.) and Vietnam Veteran, sent me a pictoral email of a young blue-eyed, blond-haired sailor. I went through the pictures of him and his girlfriend, then in Afghanistan, and then in a hospital bed. He had lost both arms and both legs, and he sent me back to 1970, and hours of emotion followed. So, I contacted him through his girlfriend Danielle (now his wife), and I told him what I had never told anyone through Danielle, and that, unfortunately, I needed to quit. Danielle sent me a return email, saying that Taylor asked that I not quit because he had not quit.

You know my answer because you are reading this in 2021. So it was more than an answer; it was and still is, a promise.


John H. Gallagher, Jr.
Managing Director
Clean Bite, LLC