David Foster - retiree
Being outdoors – especially to work on conserving local trails – is David Foster’s favorite activity.
David Foster is not one to sit in a recliner watching TV all day. His retirement days are filled with activities that keep him outdoors, involved in the community or traveling to fun places.
“Staying active keeps you alive and well,” he says. “Making the most of retirement has a lot to do with maintaining good health.”
In the summer, Foster heads to Pulaski County’s Boy Scout camp to volunteer. Now in his 10th year of helping out, Foster has held several duties at camp – office work, dining hall director, and his favorite, trail conservancy.A Boy Scout in his younger years, Foster was excited to have the opportunity to work at the camp, which has about 75 miles of trails. Each year, he begins his summer with prepping the trails for use by the Scouts.
“It’s quite a job to get the trails open,” he says. “Trees have fallen because of wind, ice or snow,” and it’s Foster’s job to clear the way.
When Scouts need to do a conservation project to earn a badge, he often supervises and determines what tasks will help them reach their goal. Some trails at the camp – previously used by industries – are not up to standard, so Foster works on improvements like making them less steep, rerouting them around water or adding new connections to “make the trails functional and enjoyable.”
Back at home, Foster gathers with a trail construction crew on Wednesdays to help sustain many Roanoke trails.
“I enjoy the camaraderie and the exercise,” he says. “And it’s fulfilling to do something that will leave a legacy.”
Prior to retirement, Foster worked for Norfolk Southern; he loved trains as a kid, so the railroad industry was the perfect fit. Originally from Connecticut, Foster was happy to put his roots in Roanoke thanks to the quasi-rural atmosphere and numerous activities available (outdoor recreation, cultural experiences, etc.).
His interest in trains continued after retirement. He and his son are working to restore an observation car with hopes to operate it in Roanoke.Foster enjoys traveling by train, too. Now that he and wife Joyce are both retired, they have the flexibility to travel more frequently.
“We both don’t like flying anymore, so we build our trips around train travel,” he says. The two have traveled across Canada and to Chicago and New Orleans.