SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW) -- 31-year old John Galloway has been recognized as Big Brother of the Year for Wisconsin, but the honor has to share Galloway's pride in another accomplishment: his Little Brother Jele's acceptance into college.
"I think I saw college in his future always and I wanted to make sure I was doing whatever I could to prepare him for that."
Jele is an 18-year old high school senior, but was paired with Galloway in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County program when Jele was ten.
The men say their first, significant mutual experience was building a clubhouse in the backyard of Jele's family home.
"Kind of designing it as we went," Jele remembers with a laugh.
The clubhouse project was followed by Galloway's involvement in Jele's soapbox derby racing, help with homework, dinners at favorite cafes to hang-out, and fishing trips to the Galloway family cabin in northern Wisconsin.
Galloway says in a short time after he started as Jele's Big Brother, the relationship changed.
"It really didn't feel like mentoring anymore, and really just felt like a friendship," Galloways says.
"He became part of my like, and I became part of his."
Galloway says he'll be at Jele's graduation later this spring. They both say they will keep in contact, even as Jele likely relocates for college.
And what of that first project for the two of them, the building of the backyard clubhouse so many years ago?
"It's a little weathered," Jele says.
"But it's still standing."