By Marie Berberea, Fort SillMay 30, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (May 30, 2013) -- Cheryl Foster, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation special programs manager, saw firsthand how her job of helping others -- is helping others.
She visited the Red Cross of Central Oklahoma May 22 and watched Fort Sill's Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and Oklahoma Humane Society put donations to work helping the victims of the tornado that devastated Moore, Okla.
Foster serves many roles for FMWR, part of which is as the installation fundraising liaison and the Combined Federal Campaign coordinator.
"It is important to donate to the CFC to whatever charity touches your heart so when something happens to yourself or someone you know or care about then here are these agencies that can reach out," said Foster. "I tell our donors it shouldn't take a tragedy to encourage someone to something they feel is important."
Foster has had that ethos of giving back, especially to Soldiers and families for almost 20 years, and her passion for doing so is alive and well.
"My first 13 years as an Army spouse we moved around 11 times. So I feel like I have real life experience and skills that I can share and give back to these Soldiers and families to help them grow and have a good life," she said.
She oversees many programs and even helped establish the Family Readiness Group Expo, which brings all the different services offered on post together for military families.
Foster started her career on Fort Sill as a temporary hire. She was only supposed to work six weeks for the Law Enforcement Command, now the Department of Emergency Services. When the person she was meant to assist never came back, she found her place.
"My children were small, and I decided I would work for six weeks and would have enough money to buy Easter outfits. I really didn't expect to stay here."
She moved to several different positions, combining the many skills she had picked up from working for the Social Security Administration to her background in elementary and high school education, to get to a position she feels is the perfect fit.
"This job matches me. I truly love Soldiers and families. I believe the programs reaplly make a difference in their quality of life," said Foster.
Fort Sill was her husband's last duty station, and it has grown into her home every since.
"We didn't come here expecting to stay. It was hot, it was windy, the grass was dead and I was somewhat shocked by the area. We came in on a Sunday night and literally it was 100 degrees. But we stayed here. This is where my heart will always be," said Foster.
She said even though she has served an amount of time when others would retire, she wants to stay in it as long as her passion for her work is there.
"Giving back to something greater than us is what it's all about."