Family History

More of Ed Gallrein’s History & Heritage:

Ed Gallrein’s German ancestors settled in New Albany, Indiana and then relocated to Louisville, Kentucky in what would eventually become known as Valley Station. Ed’s family contributed to the local community in many ways. His family included farmers, homemakers, public school teachers, and business owners/operators. 

Ed’s great-great-grandfather immigrated from Germany to the U.S., he was a cobbler and started a shoe store in New Albany, Indiana.  One of his sons, Ed’s great-grandfather Herman, was a gifted musician who started a music store and played in numerous musical groups.  He married into a family with a farm and moved to Valley Station with Ed’s great-grandmother, Laura (a gifted artist), to operate the family farm.  They thrived, in fact – he won the corn growing contest in 1913 in Kentucky with 139 bushels an acre on those fertile Ohio River bottoms.  One of their sons, Ed’s grandfather, was a Louisville motorcycle policeman during prohibition.  Afterwards, he returned to the farm and established a horse stable, called River View Acres.  He was active in the equine industry, initially showing horses and later racing horses.  Ed’s grandfather added the dairy farm operation in the early 1940s with his sons Ed Gallrein Jr (Ed’s father) and Bill Gallrein (Ed’s Uncle).  The farm later became the Gallrein Brothers dairy farm, the largest dairy in Kentucky by 1972.

After nearly 100 years of farming in the area and having their lives embedded in the local community, everything changed in 1972. The Gallreins unexpectedly faced an order of eminent domain.  Government officials forced the Gallrein Brothers Dairy Farm from their family farmlands (it was the largest dairy farm in the state at the time) so that the river port could be built.  They had farmed these lands for decades – cultivating the fertile Ohio River bottoms in southwest Jefferson County.

Being industrious and resourceful farmers, the Gallrein Brothers took advantage of this adversity to move to other locations to continue their family’s legacy farming. Ed’s uncle (Bill Gallrein Senior) relocated to Shelby County to continue the dairy operation. Ed and his father (Edward “Sonny” Gallrein Jr) relocated to south Logan County (near Schochoh) to start a grain farm (corn, soybeans, wheat, and barley), with a trucking company.

In a matter of years, the Gallreins were still the largest dairy farm in the state and one of the largest family grain farms (with a trucking company) in the state. Tragically, Ed’s father died prematurely in a farm pick-up truck accident.   

It was this history that led Ed Gallrein to decide to go to law school, determined to be a voice for farmers. Ed’s education included Centre College and Murray State for undergraduate studies, focusing on agriculture, and he played intercollegiate football at both schools. He was completing his master’s degree studies in Agriculture and was on his way to law school to serve farmers and rural Kentucky. 

However, Ed’s career path was changed when he walked past a Navy Officer recruitment table at the Murray State University student center in 1983. At that time, President Reagan was rebuilding the U.S. military after failed policies and the Operation Eagle Claw/Desert One disaster (a failed special operations effort to rescue American hostages being held in Iran) had diminished our Nation’s position as a force for peace in the world.

Being patriotic, Ed felt called to serve as in Isaiah 6:8. He sought out and was accepted into the U.S. military’s most arduous and demanding training program that had a nearly 90% failure rate at the time: The Navy SEAL Officer program. This became the new path for this patriotic Kentucky farmer to serve:  Duty-honor-country.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying,
“Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8 NIV

Ed embraced being a Reagan Republican and does so to this day: He believes in lower taxes, smaller government, fewer government regulations, law and order, a strong national defense, a free-market economy, protecting individual rights, and a strict interpretation of the Constitution (including the 2nd Amendment). Ed also believes in transparency and accountability in government – including for government-elected, appointed, and career officials who must be held to answer to “We the People.”

Kentucky and the farm life remained Ed’s home, even throughout all the years away from home, serving his nation in the military. Decades after leaving Kentucky for a career Navy SEAL Officer Program, Ed returned home and resumed the life he was always most passionate about: Family farming and community service.