Boone Memorial Hospital is proud to announce that Roy B. “R.B.” Foster has been appointed as the First Ever Emeritis Board of Trustee’s Member. Foster was appointed at the January 2012 Board Meeting. Often, hospitals, independent colleges and universities face the dilemma of retaining the enthusiastic engagement of their best board members, like Foster, so they have various categories or titles that keep productive board members part of the hospital or institution beyond their period of active service on the board.
“Honorary,” “life,” and “emeritus trustee” designations are intended to facilitate interest and some level of engagement (and support) beyond a board member’s formal tenure.
“It makes good sense to keep volunteers like R.B. engaged at a certain level and to honor their past service to the board and BMH,” explained Tommy Mullins, BMH Administrator. “His loyalty, dedication and love for the hospital and all the employees made the decision quite easy,” he added.
Foster was appointed to the Boone Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees in 1990 and retired from the board on December 31, 2010 after serving over 20 years. When Foster retired he assured BMH and the County Commission that he was not “quitting.” Foster continued to stay active with BMH happenings. Foster told us he had only missed three meetings the entire time he was a board member and he remembers the date of each missed meeting and the reason for his absence.
Foster was on the board for the beginning of BMH’s plan to build a new hospital and remains an integral part in converting the institution into a non-profit hospital, making it easier to raise funds to build a new facility. BMH Administration is still working on establishing non-profit status.
Foster retired from Armco Steel Coal Company following 41 years in the mine industry. He also worked as a sales and service consultant for coal mining. Foster served as a scouting volunteer for 30 years and is an active member of the Madison Rotary Club, a 50 year member of the Odell Masonic Lodge No. 115 A.F. & A.M., Odd-Fellows Lodge and the Coal Miners Heritage Museum Committee.
“Since the WV Coal Museum opened more than 15 years ago, R. B. has been a big help in providing many coal related items from his former coal mining days (40 years of service) that are housed in special cases in the museum. He often gives personal tours of the museum, providing a vivid 'look back' at earlier coal mining days. He has been a great supporter of the museum and also of the annual WV Coal Festival,” said long-time friend and fellow Board of Trustee Member/Secretary, Janet Yeager.
Foster has also been a member of the UMWA for 70 years and has been recognized as most likely the longest dues paying member living today. He was also chosen as the Madison Rotary Club Citizen of the Year and honored as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. Several years ago he was named a Distinguished West Virginian.
During WWII he was a member of the National CCC Corp. Foster was awarded the 35th Star from the State of West Virginia - the State’s highest honor given to a West Virginian and is a highly respected member of the community of Boone County.
Foster established an education trust fund in loving memory of his wife Mary. The fund was established to assist BMH employees and their families who desire to obtain or further their education in the medical field.
Foster is a wonderful addition to Boone Memorial Hospital. Every time he comes to visit, he tells each and everyone how much he loves BMH and all of the staff.
“R.B. even brings several boxes of candy to give to our employees and patients every time he comes to BMH,” said Mr. Mullins.
Foster visits staff and patients regularly. Born in 1920, the 91 year old continues to put others’ needs above his. He is known as a friendly, caring man with a heart of gold. Age isn’t a factor when it comes to the energy and compassion Foster possesses. His life-long mission is serving others.
For Foster, he tells us the people at BMH are like “family” to him. The feeling is quite mutual among BMH staff.
“Thank you for your support, dedication and commitment you have given to Boone Memorial Hospital and the community. We are PROUD to call you our first Emeritis Member,” said members of the staff, board and administration at BMH.
Below are just few of the heart-felt quotes from BMH Employees or Friends of the hospital who appreciate and respect Foster:
“R.B. is truly unique. He visits every friend in the hospital no matter where the hospital is located. He also attends every friend’s funeral. There are 100's of men who he mentored in Boy Scouts who have the highest respect and devotion to him. R.B. always shakes hands with every person he meets and wears a sport coat to every meeting or special event. These are just a few things that make R.B. special,” said long-time friend and BMH Administrator Tommy Mullins.
"In all the years of R.B. being on the BOT (Board of Trustees) of BMH, he was an advocate for the employees. He was a people person and the employees admire and respect him for what he has done for the employees," said Mark Linville, Executive Director of General Services.
“R.B. is a true gentleman in every since of the word. He is gentle and genuine. He is a symbol of America's sweetheart. He had one true love in his life, his lovely wife Mary, whom he adored. He told me once that he is the man he is today, mostly because of Mary. R.B. is BMH's mascot, cheerleader and an icon for true team spirit. He has openly expressed his love for the hospital and the hospital employees many, many times. He has a look that when you look into his gentle face you see kindness at its peak. He is a man that I have been blessed and honored to know personally. My entire family loves R.B.” said Sheliah Cook, Human Resources Director, BMH.
“I love R.B. Every community event, hospital dedication, health fair, educational session…R.B. is there! He’s the first to offer prayer; he is the first to give a hug to those who are down, and the first to compliment others. If we could bottle his compassion and loving attitude we’d never do without. He even carries small boxes of candy in his pocket to raise patients’ and employees’ spirits. To see people smile is what truly keeps R.B. going! He brightens my day as soon as I see his sweet face.” said Karlie Belle Price, Public Relations and Marketing Director at BMH.
I have never met a nicer person in all my life. R.B. has more dedication to Boone Memorial Hospital than 1000 people. As an employee of the hospital, I truly feel his appreciation for all that we do here,” Teresa Meade, RN BSN, Chief Clinical Officer/Executive Director Support Services, BMH.
“R.B. Foster is one of the most pleasant gentlemen I have met. He always makes you smile. We think he has contributed so much to our hospital just by being a big part of our family,” said Juanita Goodman, BMH Ward Clerk.
“If everyone was as kind and considerate as R.B. Foster the world would be a wonderful place,” said Carolyn Mullins, Member of All About Health, Boone Memorial Hospital Working for a Healthy Community.
“First and foremost, R.B. is a Christian. I believe this shows in all that he does. His concern for BMH and the people who work here are genuine. It is a privilege to know him,” said Elizabeth Blosser, RN BSN CEN-Trauma Program Manager.
“A GIANT OF A MAN” (“AS MEEK AS A LAMB”). R.B. is a nice person. He has a real love of family and community. He never met a stranger and always knew you for life. He has a positive attitude—kept everyone honest on the job or whatever he is involved in. He worked at Peabody Coal Company #9 Twilight, WV and the men there have so many nice things to say about him, just as we do at Boone Memorial Hospital. He was an electrician in the mines and (he worked on your equipment even if it was still running)—A real maintenance man. He was always looking out for the men’s safety. R.B. makes a trip to the Coal Museum an adventure. To hear the history of mining from him is a real experience you don’t want to miss. Thanks R.B. – the world is a better place because of you and your contributions,” said Johnny and Rosetta Thurmond. (Rosetta is the Director of Environmental Services at BMH).
“Well, I am always teasing him and telling him telling him the 'The Candy Man Can,'” said Lois Holliday, Human Resource’s Assistant, Boone Memorial Hospital.
“R.B. has always been there for us. He is not only kind but very sincere in everything he does. He is a very giving person and truly cares about the hospital and the community. Thanks for all the years and effort you have given to make things a little better for all of us,” said Carolyn Halstead, BMH Rural Health Medical Clinic Office Manager.
"R. B. Foster's dedication to Boone Memorial Hospital and its staff is unmatched. He is truly our greatest ambassador,” said Greg Zornes R.T., Director of Imaging Services at BMH.
“A true gentleman – R.B. is always appreciative of the staff at Boone Memorial and never lets an opportunity pass to tell us so. We all enjoy his candy and conversation. I feel privileged to know him,” said Melinda Stover RN, BSN, BMH Emergency Room.
“Basically put - he is one of the good guys - honest, loyal, dependable, a loving Husband and proud Father, hard worker, gentleman, kind, generous and giving (mostly to the women - smart man). His service to the Hospital Board was much appreciated - but his dedication to looking out for the best interest of the employees was what distinguished him during his time on the Board. From the TALL Foster to the GOOD Foster, Thanks for your past and continued service,” said Bob Foster, Executive Director of the Pharmacy, BMH.
“Mr. Foster is a great asset to Boone County. He is constantly helping others and making people feel good about themselves. He is never negative and always has a smile. The help he provides to others can not be listed because he seldom likes people to know who is responsible. I am honored and privileged to consider him one of my friends,” said Darlene McClure, Retired Boone County Teacher and “The First Lady of Danville,” ha, ha!
“I met R.B. through my husband, Steve when he started working at Boone Memorial Hospital. He is so humble and always has a smile,” said Wilma Cantley.
“R.B. is the most humble and most wonderful person on this earth. He knows how to make a person feel important and appreciated. My day is perfect when he comes by to see me. He always has a smile and very sweet words for everyone. God has certainly smiled on this ‘gentle soul’,” said Sherri Leigh Muncy, Emergency Room Referral Clerk, BMH.
“R.B. was my uncle for 15 years (I was married to his nephew). He is still a great uncle to my 2 children and I have to say I have never met a nicer, kinder man. He has always been involved in his community and seems never to slow down. He is a family man and if you spend any time with him you will hear him talk about his wife Mary who passed away several years ago. R.B. is no longer my uncle but it has made no difference at all in our relationship. He still considers me his niece and I consider him my uncle and love and respect him as I do all the Foster family. He deserves this honor,” said Community Member, Janie Walker.
“R.B. expects no recognition for his time. He just wants to see others happy. When R.B. walks into a room his first goal is to compliment others! He is a very humble, loving man and NEVER directs attention to the person most deserving - HIMSELF. He is someone that can brighten your day in seconds! His warm smile, kind nature and compassion are very unique. He’s ONE OF A KIND and if you have the opportunity to meet him we know you’ll feel the same. He’s a father, grandfather and mentor to everyone he meets! We love R.B. and are blessed he’s in our lives! He deserves recognition for his tireless efforts and amazing heart!” BMH Employees, Board of Trustees and Administration.