Military appreciation night holds special meaning for Fogarty

Photo: Tim Garland

by Alec Lessner | AHL On The Beat

Steven Fogarty maintains a quiet, yet commanding presence in the Iowa Wild locker room.

As one of the club’s veteran leaders, he isn’t the type to rile up his teammates with a loud pregame speech. Rather, Fogarty frequently lets his game speak for itself.

To hear Fogarty describe his upbringing, it becomes clear that much of his reserved personality derives from his late father, William, who served 32 years in the United States Navy.

“My dad wasn’t a strict drill sergeant type,” said Fogarty. “He was very soft-spoken and commanded respect. When he spoke, you listened.”

By the time Fogarty was born, his father had all but retired from his military career. When Fogarty was a year old, his family moved to Egypt while William worked for a defense company. The family resided briefly in New Jersey before settling in Minnesota when Fogarty was 3.

As Fogarty grew up, he learned the extent of his father’s service. A Des Moines native, William entered the Navy via the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) at Iowa State University. Over three decades, William rose to the rank of rear admiral and served as the commander of the Middle East force during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. William even met Steven’s mother, Carol, in the Middle East.

Carol’s father, Charles, also served as a colonel in the Marine Corps. He was awarded the Navy Cross in Korea and served in Vietnam.

Steven’s brother, Charles, served as a Navy Seal for 12 years and medically retired two years ago.

“The sacrifice of our armed forces has built this country,” said Fogarty. “Understanding what they go through puts things into perspective. Everything we’re able to do in this life is because of the sacrifice they make to take the fight to someone else.”

This Friday, the Iowa Wild will host the team’s annual Military Appreciation Night. Current and former members of the armed forces receive free tickets to the game and the evening’s game presentation is focused on recognizing the service of the community’s veterans. Fogarty says the game will hold added significance given his family history.

“It’s something I take a lot of pride in and something I think has shaped me,” said Fogarty. “Whenever I get a chance to be around military personnel, I make sure to thank them.”

During the game, Fogarty knows that his thoughts will turn to his father, who has not yet been laid to rest despite passing in the summer of 2022.

“We actually haven’t had his funeral yet,” said Fogarty. “We’ve been waiting to bury him at Arlington (National Cemetery). There’s a huge wait list to get in there, but he’ll be buried with full military honors.”

In the meantime, Fogarty has his own way of recognizing his father. When taping the handles of his game sticks, Fogarty always writes “DAD” at the base.

“It’s just something to have him out there with me,” said Fogarty.

Photo: Tim Garland