From staff reports
Team Foster, a non-profit organization founded to honor the legacy of Venango County native and Army captain Erick Foster, completed its marquee event on Saturday.
The Foster 100, a 100-mile fundraising bicycle ride from downtown Philadelphia to Cape May, New Jersey, raised more than $50,000 to aid wounded veterans.
The team’s mantra is “No Hero Left Behind.”
This year, Team Foster is sponsoring service dogs to partner with tri-state area veterans suffering from combat-related disabilities including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. They ensure these dogs are obtained, cared for and provided a specialized training team, all at no cost to veterans.
While service dogs are vital tools to rehabilitate injured service men and women, they are also expensive and resource intensive. Just one service dog can take two years and upwards of $20,000 to properly prepare to partner with an injured veteran.
Meanwhile, there is no assistance from the military or the government.
Foster, who was born in 1978, was the son of Bob and Barb Foster of Oil City and the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Kellner of Oil City and Mr. and Mrs. Taylor W. Foster of Franklin.
After earning a degree from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh in May 2000, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He reported to the 82nd Airborne Division in April 2004 and become his troop’s commander in October 2006.
He first deployed to Iraq in 2004 as a scout platoon leader for the 3rd Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, based in Ba’Qubah in the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad. His platoon conducted more than 200 surveillance, raid, air assault and convoy escort missions.
Returning to the U.S., Foster was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas, where he completed his captain career course. He later transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, before his second deployment to Iraq.
For more information about Team Foster, visit www.teamfoster.org.