Palatka, Fla. — Helping veterans is a mission Chuck Foster carries out both on his job and in his bass club.
After spending 24 years in the Air Force, Foster retired as a master sergeant and began working for the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (FDVA) as a disabled veterans outreach program specialist. For the next two years, Foster kept hearing about the Bass Capital BassMasters annual Veterans Appreciation Tournament and finally met some of the club members who invited him to the event to talk to the veterans about employment opportunities and other issues affecting veterans.
Foster was so impressed by the tournament that he eventually joined the Bass Capital BassMasters club. “I just liked the atmosphere and the people who were involved,” Foster said of his decision to join the club.
Since then Foster has volunteered to work the veterans tournament and became the club president about four years ago. He also changed job titles with the FDVA in 2013 when he was appointed as a veterans claims examiner supervisor. The main duty of his latest job is to supervise six service officers who assist veterans in obtaining benefits and disability compensation.
Working with veterans has given the 54-year-old Foster the opportunity to spread the word about his club’s tournament. He noted two of his co-workers who served in the military found out about the event from him and are interested in fishing the tournament.
Foster claims the biggest reward he gets from working the tournament is watching the veterans weigh in their catches. “I have heard a couple of stories of how the tournament has affected some people’s lives,” Foster said. “I see people on a daily basis who suffer from PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) and things like this tournament are events that get people living again. So for me (working the tournament) is a love, and I also see where it helps those who need help to overcome some obstacles in life.”
For more information about the veterans tournament, call Foster at 386-336-6818.