NEWBERRY — Newberry County Council declared May 2, 2018 as Sheriff Lee Foster Appreciation Day, in honor of his many years of service to Newberry County.
“James Lee Foster is currently one of the longest serving sheriffs in the state (29 years); performs a variety of challenging and important tasks, including, but not limited to, preserving the public safety and welfare of our citizens, caring for crime victims and the disadvantaged, counseling people in need, administering justice, and protecting citizen’s rights,” said McKeva Kinard-Shelton, on behalf of Council. “This dedicated servant and leader has performed and continues to perform his duties with compassion, professionalism and commitment to those he serves and additionally ensures that those who work for, and with him do the same.”
Kinard-Shelton added that Foster has been in law enforcement for more than 44 years, and continues to keep both his agency and himself on the cutting edge in education, training and technology, while working with the public and other law enforcement officers and agencies.
“Sheriff Lee Foster Appreciation Day calls attention to his contributions to our continued well-being and quality of life, and provides a special time to express appreciation and gratitude for all he has done, and continues to do,” she said.
County Council wasn’t the only entity to recognize Foster during the Appreciation Day. Bishop Samuel Green Sr., with the Seventh District African Methodist Episcopal Church, presented Foster with a lifetime achievement award.
“The measure of a man, how does one find the measure of a man? Can he be measured by how much he is treasured by others, or how he treats his brothers, or his own mother? How then does one find the measure of a man? Is a man defined by what he takes to the bank, or what he drives? Now let’s be frank, does that add up to the measure of a man? Is a man’s worth summed up by flaws, is a man worthless if he isn’t perfect? Now pause and think with reason, is that the true measure of a man? How does one find the measure of a man, well I for certain have a plan. Scan all over all aspects of his life, and you will find the true measure of a man,” Green said.
Green said how he cares for others, how he loves his family and how he treats his fellow man represents the true measure of a man.
“Because of your contributions and what you have given to the community and how you stepped up to the plate, even in a tragic time in the African Methodist Episcopal Church a couple of years ago, and how you brought the feeling of security, genuine love and concern, and how you reached out to those who were hurting in our church, not just in Charleston, but throughout Newberry County,” he said. “We know the true measure of a man is Sheriff Lee Foster.”
“Thank God for the kind of leadership that this great sheriff has given and is giving. Thank God for his dear mother, thank God for the relationship we have had across the years,” said Bishop Fred James. “God Bless this country, to have people in leadership like this great sheriff and his staff, this council and people of Newberry County.”
Carol Foster, Sheriff Foster’s wife, was also recognized during the meeting.
“We know that your husband works hard, and we know he couldn’t do it without you being there. So the Seventh District recognizes Carol Foster for the many years of sacrifices and unselfish support to her husband, Sheriff Lee Foster. With his demanding and ever changing work schedule, which is required to maintain the public and community safety,” said Elder Rev. Dr. Charmaine Reagin Merrick.
Sheriff Foster said a dear friend of his, who works in the media, called him when he discovered he was being honored, and while he was happy for him, he was also concerned. He told Foster, when someone is given an honor like this, they are either sick, going to retire or get a better job.
“Well, none of that is true, I’m not sick, I have no plans on retiring, because a friend told me today the best is ahead of me and not behind me, so no plans on retiring,” Foster said. “I am very appreciative of this honor, I’m a little embarrassed by it, overwhelmed, don’t think I’m worthy of it. I’m deeply appreciative of McKeva and the Women on a Mission for facilitating this, really appreciative as well of her work, and the work her group has done, they do a lot of good work in this county.”
Foster said he is also appreciative of his friends in the church community, saying he could not do what he does without faith.
“You can’t do what we do everyday, and do what I’ve done as sheriff for almost 30 years, but in law enforcement 40, fire service even longer. No way I could survive without the hand of God being on us, and provide us with healing,” he said. “I’d ask that this not be Sheriff Lee Foster Day, but First Responder Day, there is no way I could do my job if I didn’t have everybody in this room.”
After Foster spoke, he presented County Council with a gift. Foster had a picture of the first County Council restored by Debbie Turner to be hung on the wall of the Council Chambers.
• Council passed third reading, and held a public hearing, for an ordinance rezoning a parcel, located at the intersection of CR Koon Highway and S.C. 773, from Industrial to General Commercial.
• Council passed third reading, and held a public hearing, for an ordinance rezoning a parcel, located off Pender Ridge Road, from General Commercial to Rural.
• Council passed second reading of an ordinance providing for the issuance and sale of General Obligation Bonds, not to exceed $800,000, to fund the purchase and renovation of 833 Main Street, Newberry, for the purposes of a magistrate court.
• Council approved second reading for an ordinance to provide appropriations for the new fiscal year, the budget is currently balanced at $24,930,250.
• Council approved an ordinance to provide appropriations for the Newberry County Library, Piedmont Technical College and Newberry Disabilities and Special Needs. This community service levy is balanced at $917,224.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.