Riding High on the Hog(ette)
Posted: Mar 20 2005
By Scott Hurrey
Solomons, MD: David Spigler celebrated his 60th birthday on Saturday, February 19. With over 250 friends and family in attendance at the Holiday Inn Select in beautiful Solomons, MD, Spiggy Hogette's party was the place to be in Southern Maryland.
On hand were several former Redskin greats, local celebrities, politicians and of course, most of the renowned Hogettes themselves. Said Spigler of the gathering, "We go to church on Saturday so we don't have to go on Sunday and Father says, 'May you grow old in the comfort of friends'". With the number of friends Spigler has, he must be awfully comfortable.
The guests were treated to a night filled with great music and great food. The Holiday Inn's own Isaac's Restaurant provided the delicious fare – a tailgate theme of course. Hamburgers, hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels; everything you'd look for on a cold December morning in the parking lot at FedEx Field. The Fabulous Hubcaps jammed out their famous 'Show Set', a fabulous retrospective 50's and 60's anthology. Barry, Jimmy, Jan, Katie, Denny, Rocky and Coe rocked the night away to the delight of all in attendance.
Spigler's birthday party celebrated more than just a Good Samaritan getting a year older, The Hogettes culminated months of time and effort with a $30,000 donation to Joe Gibbs' Youth For Tomorrow organization.
The journey started at the American Legion in Lusby, MD. "Last January, I was standing at the Legion with a bunch of my friends and Joe Gibbs came on the television," Spigler stated. "The thought occurred to me that I needed to do something for this man."
Spigler didn't know what that 'something' was until later when he saw a television commercial for the Joe Gibbs' High Performance Special Edition Truck. When the commercial was over, Spigler yelled: "That's it! I am going to get that truck, I'm going to raffle it, and make some money for the Youth For Tomorrow Foundation!"
And that's what he did.
Bayside Chevrolet in Prince Frederick, MD and Sterling Chevrolet of Sterling, VA provided the truck, the Hogettes sold over $60,000 worth of raffle tickets to pay for it and the donation, and on February 19th, Spigler got his birthday wish and presented a $30,000 check to Dr. Gary Jones, the CEO for Joe Gibbs' Youth For Tomorrow Foundation.
In accepting the check, Dr. Jones summed up the mission of the Hogettes in one statement: "No man stands so tall as when they stoop to help a child."
David Spigler and the Hogettes have been standing tall for over 23 years.
Spigler says that it is his family that keeps him going full tilt as both a Hogette and a Realtor. "I have the world's best wife", cooed Spigler of wife Debbie, "She is the most flexible, understanding woman on the face of the Earth. I tend to be a little bit out there and she tends to lean a little towards the conservative, but she always supports me in all these crazy endeavors. [Debbie] goes into a dress shop and says, 'I need to make a dress for my husband'. They go, 'Well Geeze!! What size is he?' to which she replies, 'about four yards'!"
The attention Spigler gets from being a Hogette is nice, but it's the community service that he really enjoys. "I'm a sensitive guy. I'm one of those touchy, feely, out there on the sleeve kind of guys. I just feel like, 'Hey, if you are healthy and you have a healthy family, take care of those who are not as well off as you are.'"
He comes by the philanthropy naturally. "My dad and my stepmom never had any money, but if they did - whatever it was they had - they shared it. That was kind of passed down to my brother and I." It was true even when he was just Dave Spigler. "We heard about this guy dressing up as a Hogette, complete with a sash that said Wanna Be Hogette," said Boss Hogette Michael Torbert. "He was standing on the side of the road selling hot dogs to benefit a sailor's family who had just had some sort of tragedy. We said to our selves, this guy is nuts, we better check him out."
Spiggy's take is simple. "We all owe something. You don't have to do it in the military, but do it in your community. Just give back, and it will come back to you in the end."
Spigler chose both paths. He is a retired Mustang – a term bestowed upon a select few who enter the service in the enlisted ranks and earn a commission to be an officer – Spigler served his nation in the United States Navy. Now retired, his daughter Stacy carries on the tradition of giving back. She is a Naval Academy graduate and 1st Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps as a pilot.
When asked for a statement to the American troops protecting freedom around the globe, Spigler offered, "They are the best this country has to offer. There's no one finer than someone who puts his or her life at stake the way you have. You are to be admired. You are today's heroes."
Many would say that donating over $100 million and 20-plus years of countless time to local charities constitutes real heroism too. The Hogettes put in over 100 special appearances annually to raise money for needy children in the Washington Metropolitan area. They don't extract money to pay for transportation, or lodging; all of the money raised goes to the kids. Spigler stated, "Whatever you give goes directly to the needy and with that, people respond to us. We never set an objective or a figure that we want per event or per year. We just say, 'Hey. Give what's in your heart'."
The work has not gone unnoticed, as was evident by the local public officials attending the party. Delegate Tony O'Donnell presented a commendation to Spigler on behalf of Governor Bob Ehrlich, Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele, Secretary of State R. Karl Aumann and the Maryland House of Delegates. Susan Shaw presented an award from the Calvert Board of County Commissioners, Thomas McKay from the Saint Mary's Board of County Commissioners and Barbara Stinnett from the Calvert County Democratic Party.
Two of the 'Seventieth Greatest Redskins' Pat Fischer and Ron McDole were also on hand to acknowledge Spiggy and the Hogettes. "What can I say about the Hogettes? Their commitment to helping children is both considerable and continuous," Fischer said in between autographs for the young fans on hand. "It's just amazing. I consider it an honor to help them and to be associated with them. Whenever they call, I jump at the opportunity." Fischer was one of the best defensive backs to ever play the game. What he lacked in size, he made up for in tenacity. He knows a thing or two about heart.
Youth For Tomorrow's Dr. Jones added this on the Hogettes: "Their dedication to the children is a testament to their character. They are definitely men of character."
Local ABC 7 meteorologist Doug Hill was the Emcee for the event. As a local Maryland boy, he had good insight on the group of benevolent fans and perhaps summed things up best: "Other teams have their fans - the Cleveland Browns have the Dawg Pound - but the Hogettes really get it. They are an institution. They pour their heart and soul into what they do, and the only thing they get out of it is the looks on the kids' faces. They just get it."
They certainly do.
To contact the Hogettes, please visit their website at http://www.hogettes.com or email them at email@example.com. To contact the Holiday Inn Select or Isaac's Restaurant for your special event, give them a call at (410) 326-6311 or visit them online at http://solomonsmd.hiselect.com. For more information on the Youth for Tomorrow Foundation, visit their website at http://www.youthfortomorrow.org.