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From Service to “SportsCenter:” Gary Striewski Unites Army Veterans Through the Power of Sports, including a Heartwarming Reunion with His Father

Last year, SportsCenter host, Gary Striewski received a direct message on Instagram that would ultimately lead to a heartwarming reunion between his father, Sargent First Class Gary Striewski, and fellow Army veteran 2nd Lieutenant Rick Richkowski.

The connection was made when Rick, while watching SportsCenter, recognized Gary’s name and reached out via Instagram. The message read, “Served with your dad at Fort Carson, Colo., in the early 1990s. Hope he is doing well. There are stories of him I have retold for 30 years. Keep up the great work.” The unique name made it easy for Rick to identify the potential connection, as he had served with Gary’s father over 30 years ago but lost touch when Gary Sr. was reassigned to Korea.

The reconnection between Rick and Gary’s father marked the beginning of a remarkable journey. Rick, an avid fan of SportsCenter, recorded every episode and was excited to be reunited with his former comrade.

(L-R) Rich Richkowski and Gary Striewski Sr. at West Point (2023)

 As a gesture of appreciation, Rick arranged for Gary and his family to visit West Point. In return, Rick was given a tour of ESPN and SportsCenter, providing him with a behind-the-scenes look at the show.

This heartwarming story showcases the power of sports and the unexpected connections they can create. Striewski’s role on SportsCenter not only allows him to indulge in his passion for sports and storytelling but also provided the opportunity to reunite two Army veterans who shared a deep bond forged during their service. 

(L-R) Rich Richkowski, Gary Striewski Jr and Gary Striewski Sr on the SportsCenter set (2023)

Through the simple act of reaching out on Instagram, Rick and Gary’s father were able to rekindle their friendship and create lasting memories.

The journey of the Striewski family and Rick Richkowski serves as a powerful reminder of the enduring strength of the bonds formed through service to one’s country and the unexpected ways in which sports can bring people together. It is a testament to the profound impact that a shared experience, even one as simple as watching a sports show, can have on people’s lives.

2nd Lieutenant Rick Richkowski, 1993 (courtesy: R. Richkowski)
Sargent First Class Gary Striewski, 1980s (courtesy: G. Striewski Sr.)
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