AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Often, when we see a homeless person, it’s easy to look in the opposite direction. We’ve told you about a local vet, William “Bill” Fogal found in a hot car last month with his dog Tic Tac. After his death, we learned Fogal was a Vietnam Veteran and an accomplished inventor.
ForcesUnited says a memorial held today was to honor Fogal, but also to remind people to not judge someone due to their circumstances.
If we can learn one thing from this story, it’s never to judge a book by its cover. The narrative was William Fogal was homeless, but it became a sad story of a forgotten soldier.
“As a community, we love, support, and defend our military and veterans,” said deputy director with ForcesUnited, Don Clark. “Today your presence here signifies just that.”
With heads bowed, arm to arm, strangers came together to honor William Fogal. His story gained attention from the community after he and his dog were found by Richmond County deputies. It also helped his family members find him after 15 years.
“My uncle noticed in an obituary, and he thought it is why my father, but he wasn’t quite sure,” said Fogal’s son, Randy Rockefeller. “About 15 minutes later, he texted me and said it was him.”
Rockefeller says he met his father once when he was 13. Rockefeller told NewsChannel 6 reporter, Devin Johnson he always wanted to know that side of the family. And he says he wished he would’ve done more to find his father.
“You know I’ve never taken that opportunity,” explained Rockefeller. “I felt like this is a time, I should come and support him.”
Fogal’s buddy Tic Tac was attendance singing with the crowd to send off his partner.
“I thought it was great when we were singing, and he was singing along.,” said Richmond County deputy, Keli Runyon. “You could tell, he could tell Bill was in here with us.”
Deputy’s Runyon and Patrick brown are being credited for taking the time to check on Fogal and his dog.
“You never really know what somebody’s story is until you get everybody’s perspective on it,” said Brown.
Rockefeller says learning about his father’s situation has changed the way he sees people. He challenges all of us not to judge someone due to their circumstances. Because you never know what they are going through.
“Do more than I did in this situation,” explained Rockefeller. “Reach out, don’t wait for them to reach out. You reach and see can connect.”
Tic Tac is doing much better under the care of CSRA Forgotten Souls Rescue. He is currently up for adoption.
Photojournalist: Mark Gaskins
Down below is the full interview of William Fogal’s son, Rady Rockefeller.