Stephen Galatti

Stephen Galatti was born in New Jersey, where his widely-traveled father had settled his family, having come to the US to head the New York office of the great international merchant-shippers, Ralli Brothers, involved in the cotton trade.

Steve was sent away to St. Mark’s School, which prepared him for Harvard where he gained fame as the quarterback of the varsity football team. Henceforth he would belong to a powerful new network of prestigious school alumni.

After working for Ralli Brothers in London and Calcutta, and after the war broke out, briefly at the American Embassy in London, he came to Paris in August of 1915 to volunteer for the American Ambulance’s new Field Service.

He was first assigned to SSU3 in Alsace and then was summoned back to Paris to become Piatt Andrew’s “right hand man”. When AFS was absorbed by the U.S. Army Ambulance Service in late 1917, both were given officers’ commissions – by the war’s end, “Doc” holding the rank of colonel, and Steve, major.

After the war, Steve returned to New York’s financial district, where he eventually found work as a stockbroker. By the time WW2 broke out “Doc” had died, and it was up to Steve to reactivate the Field Service. He revived Henry Sleeper’s support network in the US, moving its HQ from Boston to the premises of the New York Cotton Exchange – 60 Beaver Street – where his father had worked for so many years.

Steve then shepherded the revived ambulance service through many fields, with troops of many origins – both managing the network and assuming Doc’s role of working efficiently with high government officials.

This time, AFS would carry on after the war, finding a new field of service as the conflicts of armed warfare metamorphosed into Cold War battles for minds and hearts. Under Galatti’s guidance, AFS’s network of “Old Boys” would be “feminized” by a new group of women staff and volunteers overseeing the adventures in foreign lands of boys – and now girls

Henceforth, AFS would champion a new cause – international understanding – through a worldwide, family-based network with, at the heart of it all, the Patriarch, Steve Galatti.