Longtime rescue worker fighting battle of his life

Longtime rescue worker fighting battle of his life
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Jim Foster has invested a significant measure of his life serving others through the Obion County Rescue Squad.
His work as a volunteer with the local squad dates back more than 30 years.
Foster, a first responder, is consistently one of the first ones on the scene and one of the last to leave.
October 2011 was a very busy month for the local rescue squad and it was during that month that Foster responded to 51 calls. For the year, Foster responded to more than 200 missions.
Now, the 63-year-old Goodyear retiree is relying on the help of others as he is facing the fight of his life.
Foster has been diagnosed with cancer and is currently being treated at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. He also recently suffered a heart attack that has complicated his medical treatment. He underwent triple heart bypass surgery Friday.
“He seems to be doing pretty good this morning,” Foster’s wife, Linda (Gardner) Foster, told The Messenger this morning. She has been by her husband’s bedside since he was hospitalized two days before Christmas.
A benefit supper has been planned by the members of the local rescue squad and the squad’s Crewettes. The supper will be held from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 19 at Charlie T’s in downtown Union City.
Over the past three decades, Foster has been one of the most active members of the local rescue squad and has served as the squad’s training officer and unit director.
In addition to his work with the local rescue squad, Foster has also been an active member of the state rescue squad organization. He regularly attends the annual conventions. Foster is also a lifetime member of the Obion County Rescue Squad.
At the local rescue squad’s recent Christmas party, Foster was honored as the squad’s 2011 Officer of the Year.
It was about 24 years ago Foster was first diagnosed with cancer in the nasal area. He emerged from extensive treatment to be listed as cancer-free.
Now the cancer has apparently returned and Foster is facing some very serious medical issues, the most serious of which are his heart blockages.
Praise for Foster’s dedication and work ethic flows from his fellow rescue squad members, including Capt. Teddy Willcutt and longtime squad member Freddie Preuett.
“I think he’s an excellent squad member,” Willcutt said. “I hate to see all this going down. You just can’t beat him.”
Willcutt went on to describe Foster as one of the most reliable members of the local rescue squad.
“I’ve worked with Jim ever since he was in the squad,” Preuett said.
With 44 years of service, Preuett is the longest serving member of the squad and has worked numerous missions with Foster.
“Jim is just an outstanding rescue squad member,” Preuett said. “He is always there when you need him … he is a super guy.”
Being a member of the local rescue squad is like having an extended family. When your life is oftentimes placed in the hands of those you work with, a special bond is created.
Earlier this month, squad member and local pastor Paul Sternisha visited with Foster at the Jackson hospital.
“He’s very dedicated,” he said about his fellow squad member. “He has been very active.”
Sternisha has been a member of the local rescue squad since 2008 and has worked alongside Foster on numerous calls. He told The Messenger, “He has been very good to work with.”
The rescue squad and Crewettes have risen to the call to stand by one of their own during his time of need, which appropriately goes with the rescue squad’s motto of “People Helping People.”
The Fosters are the parents of Heather (Foster) Harrison and the grandparents of 2-month-old Samantha Ann Harrison.
Published in The Messenger 1.9.12

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