E.L. Foster, Jr. Volunteer Program named at Hospice of Marion County

Jo Foster, left, and her daughter-in-law, Pam Foster, unveil the bronze plaque commemorating the dedication of the E. L. Foster, Jr. Volunteer Services Program at a celebration at Hospice of Marion County on December 5, 2017.

The Volunteer Services Program at Hospice of Marion County (HMC) has been aptly named for a former mayor and staunch supporter of philanthropic efforts in Ocala. E. L. Foster, Jr. who served as mayor from 1995-2002 was also on the HMC Board of Directors from 2003-2005. A longtime financial supporter of HMC, Foster’s legacy as a volunteer will live on among HMC’s 700 volunteers, who provide patient support, fundraising and administrative assistance to the area’s only non-profit hospice.

His wife Jo says the recognition is a tribute to her husband’s philosophy of giving back: “In the early days of Hospice of Marion County, we were on the giving end. In E.L.’s last days, we were on the receiving end. We came full circle and I can tell you it is a wonderful organization. E. L. loved Hospice of Marion County.” Foster died last year at the age of 82.

“He also loved this community,” Mrs. Foster said. “He may not have been born here, but he felt like it was his home.” This commitment factored into his decision to run for office and serve in various ways throughout his residency here. Described by his wife as a “people person,” Foster remained heavily involved in the community with ties to the Appleton Museum of Art, the College of Central Florida, the March of Dimes, the Ocala Civic Theatre, the Historic Ocala Preservation Society, the American Cancer Society, Munroe Regional Medical Center and, of course, Hospice of Marion County.

Connie Storms, Director, Volunteer Services at HMC, is delighted that the program she oversees now has a powerful name before it: “We are so pleased to carry Mr. Foster’s name. He was a model of the volunteer spirit and catalyst for others to improve our community. This tribute will live on in the lives of hundreds of volunteers who follow his example of selfless and dedicated service.”

About HMC: Hospice of Marion County is a non-profit agency providing compassionate end-of-life care for families since 1983. Patients receive hospice at home, assisted living facilities, nursing homes or at three hospice houses. Accredited with Deemed Status by the Joint Commission, the nation’s highest standard in quality medical care, HMC offers extensive community-wide support programs, many at no charge.