Spirit of the Valley Award Luncheon, Aug. 28

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YMCA of Kanawha Valley offers free health and wellness programs to hundreds of area children, families and people in need, made possible by fundraising efforts that support its Community Assistance Fund, which is heavily supported by the annual Spirit of the Valley Campaign. The award recognizes a community member who exemplifies community service, and the effort engages a group of 300 volunteers who conduct outreach in generating pledges for the fund.

The Spirit selection committee has named Dr. Daniel S. Foster as the 2018 Spirit of the Valley designee.  Dan will be the 34th recipient of what is often considered the Kanawha Valley’s most distinguished honor.  He will be formally recognized with an award ceremony at a luncheon in the Charleston Civic Center on August 28th.  Dr. Foster will soon retire from his position as Physician Advisor at Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC), having served the health care system in various roles for 39 years.  A native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Dan arrived in the local area after completing his surgical residency at Tulane University Associated Hospitals in New Orleans.  Once in Charleston, he joined with Doctors Eric Mantz and Willis Trammell in the Charleston Surgical Group.

From 1979 to 2002 Dr. Foster performed surgery on countless patients from the Kanawha Valley at many area hospitals.  During his years of clinical practice he also participated in the training of an entire generation of surgical residents and medical students as Clinical Professor of Surgery at West Virginia University – Charleston.  Even today, Dan continues to serve as an educator at the weekly surgical conferences.

Throughout his many years of full time surgical practice, Dan Foster remained deeply involved in community activities.  Blessed with three active sons, Dan rarely took a secondary role, whether it was being Nation Chief of the local YMCA Indian Guides, head coaching in youth basketball, soccer, tee ball, Little League baseball, or taking violin lessons with a son.  For 30 consecutive years, starting in 1986, he organized a friendly neighborhood golf tournament, the Parkwood Open, which awarded the winner an alternate version of the “coveted green jacket”.  During the 1990’s Dr. Foster toured the Kanawha County school system educating adolescents about the dangers of tobacco use.  Dan also found the time to provide leadership on the Boards of the United Way, the American Cancer Society, the Education Alliance, and the University of Charleston.

In 2002 Dan became the first Physician Advisor at CAMC, which took him out of the operating room, but fully immersed him in the hospital’s efforts to increase efficiency and improve effectiveness for both its physicians and patients.   Fully aware of the need for policy and regulatory changes, Dr. Foster recognized an opportunity to serve the people in another profound and influential way.   In 2002, he signed up to run for office in the West Virginia Legislature.  For ten years, Dan was privileged to serve the citizens of Kanawha County in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate.

Both within and outside the Legislature he worked on many complex pension challenges, as well as innumerable healthcare, education, and legal issues that were critical to the state’s future.  For his work in surgery, public health, youth education, and the legislature Dr. Foster received numerous accolades and honors. In addition, over the years he published frequent healthcare-related articles as a contributing columnist for the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

A life-long love of music and the arts is demonstrated by his 26 year tenure on the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra Board (including chairing an $8.3 million capital campaign), as well as membership on the boards of Festivall Charleston, the West Virginia Humanities Council, the West Virginia Youth Symphony, and the Charleston Light Opera Guild.  Refusing to be just limited to behind-the-scenes  support roles, Dan occasionally found his way on stage in several local operas and the Nutcracker Ballet.

Dan’s partner in all of his colorful endeavors has been his lovely wife, Kathy, a Louisiana native.  They have three adult sons:  Greg, Brad, and Doug.  Dr. Foster and Kathy are now blessed with four grandsons and one granddaughter.  Dan plans to spend much of his newly discovered free time with his lovely grandchildren.

For more information about the Spirit of the Valley events and luncheon, please call
LeeAnn Doyle at The YMCA 304-340-3527

YMCA Spirit of the Valley Logo

Past Recipients
1985 – John M. Wells Sr.
1986 – Sidney P. Davis Jr.
1987 – Bert Bradford Jr. M.D.
1988 – Lawson W. Hamilton Jr.
1989 – James M. Poindexter
1990 – Isaac N. Smith Jr.
1991 – James R. Thomas II
1992 – Warren Point, M.D.
1993 – Lyell B. Clay
1994 – Martha G. Wehrle
1995 – William T. Brotherton Jr.
1996 – Angus E. Peyton
1997 – Thomas E. Potter
1998 – John L. McClaugherty
1999 – Bertie Cohen
2000 – Thad D. Epps
2001 – Joseph C. Jefferds Jr.
2002 – Lewis N. McManus
2003 – John F. McGee
2004 – Betty Schoenbaum
2005 – John Wells Jr.
2006 – Edward H. Maier
2007 – Dr. Ed Welch
2008 – J. Holmes Morrison
2009 – Charles T. Jones
2010 – Brooks F. McCabe Jr.
2011 – Nelle Ratrie Chilton
2012 – T. Randolph Cox
2013 – K. Richard C. Sinclair
2014 – Governor Gaston W. Caperton III
2015- John Elliot
2016 – Mary Jean Davis
2017 – Thomas A. Heywood