Bob Foster retires after 39 years at WSSRA

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By Community Editor

FRANKLIN PARK, IL – The West Suburban Special Recreation Association would like to announce the retirement of Robert "Bob" Foster after 39 years with the association.

Bob Foster served as the associations Superintendent of Safety and Operations for 26, where he oversaw the agencies transportation program, risk management and the Lekotetek program; a play-intervention program and toy-lending library.

Foster began his tenure at WSSRA in 1980 as a Recreation Specialist.  He rose through the ranks over his years with WSSRA, from Senior Recreation Specialist, to the Assistant Superintendent, to the Manager of Safety and Operations before being promoted to the Superintendent of Safety and Operations. 

Foster has been an integral part of the growth of WSSRA.  WSSRA began with two districts in 1976; the River Forest Park District and the Park District of Oak Park, and grew to the current 13, with the additions of the Park Districts of North Berwyn, Berwyn, Franklin Park, Norridge, Clyde, Hawthorne, and the Villages of Elmwood Park, Harwood Heights, North Riverside and Riverside.

Foster assisted in the development of many cooperative events that connected WSSRA communities, participants and families as part of one WSSRA family.  These events included the ten-year run of the Fairy Tale Trail accessible Halloween house, Flap Jack Bunny Hop, the Wacky Quacky Duck Splash, and the annual Derby Gala which has raised over $600,000 for WSSRA in its 18-year history.

Foster promoted the profession of Therapeutic Recreation and advocated for its growth through his work with the Illinois Therapeutic Recreation Section of the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA). Bob served on the ITRS board from 1997 – 1999.  Foster received the "ITRS Affiliate's Award" in 1992 and the ITRS Director's Award in 1998. In 2011, the Park District of Oak Park recognized Foster with the "Community Service Award." Most recently, Foster was recognized by his peers for the ITRS "Distinguished Service Award" in January 2019.

Bob Foster's dedication, leadership and his ongoing commitment to the recreational interests of those with special needs, has left an indelible mark on WSSRA and the participants he served during his 39 years with the association.

WSSRA provides recreation programs for adults and children who have a physical impairment, a mental disability, or any other type of disability. Through WSSRA, residents of all ages can participate in year-round programming specifically designed to meet their individual needs. WSSRA serves the communities of Berwyn, Cicero, Elmwood Park, Forest Park, Franklin Park, Harwood Heights, Norridge, North Riverside, Oak Park, River Forest and Riverside.

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Karen Mullarkey Kerrins from Oak Park  

Posted: April 27th, 2020 2:11 PM

Bob- You are still missed! I hope you've been enjoying your retirement! Thank you for all of your years of service and keeping our kids safe and active with WSSRA! You were always a pleasure to deal with!!

Ada Johnson Tikkanen  

Posted: April 10th, 2020 11:12 AM

so Bob - how is your retirement? I feel I practically know you considering this story is still up and you retired almost a year ago.

Betsy Hennig Davis  

Posted: September 17th, 2019 7:06 PM

Proud of you, Bob!

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