Hometown Hero: John Fogarty
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Leading the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is a challenging job any year, perhaps never more so than over the past two years.
John Fogarty was the general chairman through most of the pandemic.
Fogarty hasn’t worn a sash or rushed across town to an appointment in more than two weeks. And it’s been nice.
“I think the day after was like a big whew, we’re here,” Fogarty said.
So, that makes it the first time in two years that the immediate past chairman of the Savannah St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee hasn’t had at least part of his mind on the next March 17 - whether that was a year or a day away.
“You had this anticipation of what’s to come and can we get back? And everybody wanted it. We had to come up with some new ideas and I did go get some advice and say what do you think about this? Because we wanted to keep our mission in the forefront, which is honoring St. Patrick. And I think we did a really good job of that and that was exciting,” he said.
Fogarty just completed the most unique two-year chairmanship as anyone has ever had - one parade canceled by the pandemic, the next uncertain up until the moment it returned to the streets. And shepherding several Savannah traditions through a dormant 2021 was as important as seeing the parade return this 2022.
“When you saw the joy in people’s faces when you were walking down the street. They were just so happy to be out there and hugging and together again. It was very satisfying,” he said.
Fogarty and his executive committee delivered the events that they could last year - the Celtic Cross Ceremony, the Greening of the Fountain, to name a few.
“I think that understanding and accepting the fact in the beginning that you’re not going to make everyone happy, let’s just do the best we can do and focus on your goals,” Fogarty said.
He’ll tell you that was a team effort. But Fogarty was the leader of that team, the WTOC Hometown Hero putting the parade committee in a stronger position coming out of the last two years than how it entered them.
“We really do see that the parade is part of our city and our community’s identity. And when you pull that away for two years, we saw what happens and how that hurts our community. And when you saw the smiles on people’s faces when we got back, you saw what it meant to people. To be able to do that and be part of that was something special. I’m proud of what we did as a group, as a unit. The guys I have on my executive committee, we thought of a lot of stuff and what can we make happen. I’m proud of what we put out there and I hope the city, the community, the rest of our members are proud,” Fogarty said.
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