Lions Club's Danny Foster Memorial Fundraiser features chances on 2019 Extended Cab Pickup
The Center Lions Club continues its longtime legacy, along with that of longtime member Danny Foster, by raising funds to give back to the local community.
The club's annual truck raffle — the Danny Foster Memorial Fundraiser — has been responsible for a large part of the more than $1 million the club has raised over recent decades, according to Jim Sawyer, with the Lions Club.
“Danny started the truck raffle for the club and it's made a lot of money that has been invested back into the community and for Lions projects,” Sawyer said. “Without him we never would have had the raffle.”
Sawyer said Foster headed up the event from about 1993 until his untimely death just days after the 2017 East Texas Poultry Festival and that year's raffle.
“He was able to gain a lot of community support for the event,” Sawyer said. “Danny was just a good guy who was great for the club and great for this community.”
Lions Club member Buster Bounds said Foster was a great salesman who loved to get up on the stage to promote the raffle and the Lions Club.
“I really think he missed his calling by not being an entertainer,” Bounds said. The truck raffle has been the club's largest annual fundraiser for many years.
“This event really should be named after him,” Bounds said. He said a truck raffle as part of the East Texas Poultry Festival precedes the Lions Club participation in the event by many years, but it was Foster who bought the truck raffle back and reinvigorated it with new energy.
For a career, Foster worked for Ihlo Wood Products with sales around the world, Bounds said. But Foster's love of Center, Shelby County and the Lions Club are also leave a strong legacy he will be remembered for, he said.
“We certainly miss him and this community misses him,” Bounds said. Among others who miss Foster, of course, are his family members, including daughter, Dr. Alison Slade.
She said her father's spirit of giving back was rooted in his own childhood.
“When he was 13, he was involved in a fire that burned more than 45 percent of his body,” Slade said. He received those burns when escaping the burning house.
“He was told he would never walk again,” she said. Instead of accepting that, young Danny Foster set out to prove the medical experts wrong.
Not only would he walk again but with the aide of a scholarship to Auburn University he went on to graduate from college.
“He got a second chance in life with that scholarship,” Slade said. “Without it, he never would have been able to go to college.”
The family moved to Center when Slade was a high school sophomore.
“He was really impressed with the Lions Club and the work they were doing,” she said. Like with everything he did, Danny jumped in feet first to do his best to help the club improve the quality of life in Center and Shelby County.
“My dad was such a giving man and he was quite the salesman, he could sell ice to an eskimo,” Slade said. That outgoing personality fit well with him kicking off and heading up the truck raffle as a Lions Club fundraising project for more than 20 years.
He continued that passion until just days before his untimely death from a heart attack in October 2017.
“He gave away a truck that Saturday at the Poultry Festival,” she said, before passing away a few days later.
Slade said her father lived his life by the Auburn Creed. He had earned his Bachelor of Science in Business from Auburn University in 1980 after being offered the opportunity to attend on a scholarship.
Tickets for the Danny Foster Memorial Fundraiser are available from any Center Noon Lions Club member. The first ticket drawn at the Poultry Festival will win the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado pickup provided by Ray Jones Chevrolet and the next four tickets drawn will receive $250 each.
Through their humanitarian efforts from fundraisers and donations, the Center Noon Lions Club locally supports charities, schools, children with vision and other challenges, as well as assisting with the building of local baseball and softball fields.
In the last 30 years of service to the community, the Center Noon Lions Club has raised and donated more than $1 million to Lions and local Projects.
• Lions Club Projects: $153,00.00 (14%)
• Local Eyeglasses: $176,000.00 (17%)
• Local Scholarships: $192,000.00 (18%)
• Local Civic Projects $ 548,000.00 (51%)
Details regarding the pickup truck annual fundraiser and ticket purchases can be obtained by contacting: Stephen Gamble at 936-275-5222 or Tim Wulf at 936-598-6333, Center Noon Lions Club Vehicle Raffle Co-Chairmen or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Auburn Creed .... which Danny Foster lived by:
I believe that this is a practical world and that I can count only on what I earn. Therefore, I believe in work, hard work.
I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.
I believe in honesty and truthfulness, without which I cannot win the respect and confidence of my fellow men.
I believe in a sound mind, in a sound body and a spirit that is not afraid, and in clean sports that develop these qualities.
I believe in obedience to law because it protects the rights of all.
I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.
I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by "doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God."
And because Auburn men and women believe in these things, I believe in Auburn and love it.
-George Petrie (1943)