Holmes Community College is proud to honor Kosciusko native Corporal James Cline Foster, Sr. (Class of '49) as the 2017 Veteran of the Year. The award will be presented on Oct. 21 during the Homecoming celebration held on the Goodman Campus.
Cpl. Foster served in the U.S. Marine Corp during World War II in the Southwest Pacific islands of Peleliu and Okinawa. During the Okinawa campaign, which was the last and largest of the Pacific island battles, he was wounded in combat by a sniper and medically discharged. It was just a few short years later that he enrolled in Holmes.
While at Holmes Junior College, as it was called in the'40s, Cpl. Foster was an active member of the College Agriculture Club. His experience at Holmes served him well as he continued his studies at Mississippi State University, earning a bachelor's degree in agriculture and a master's in education.
"One thing I always say is that Holmes is close to my heart," Cpl. Foster said.
After teaching agriculture for nine years, then serving as a teacher and basketball coach for 10 years in Leake and Attala counties, Cpl. Foster took on the role of principal for McAdams High School for eight years. Following his position at McAdams, he was voted Superintendent of Education; a position he held for 16 years in Attala County before retiring in 1987.
Always proud of serving his country, Cpl. Foster was a longtime member of the American Legion, a state commander and local DAV (Disabled American Veterans) commander for five years. He has also been a member of VFW Post #1983 since 1947 and member of DAV since 1968. Cpl. Foster has also been a part of the Military Order of the Purple Heart since 1990, and served on the Mississippi State Veteran Affairs Board as chairman from 1992-2000. He was even instrumental in the Martha Jo Leslie State Veterans Home being built in Kosciusko.
One of Cpl. Foster's most admirable accomplishment was founding the Aisle of Honor Program. Each Memorial and Veteran's Day, this program honors those who died serving this country by lining the cemetery with over 700 flags during the programs. The pavilion at the Aisle of Honor is named the James C. Foster Pavilion.
In 2015, Cpl. Foster received the American Legion Blue Cap Award for distinguished service to the community and country. In addition to being active in veteran activities, he is also a Mason (Masonry is the oldest fraternity in the world), a member of Shriners International (a spin-off from Freemasonry) and a longtime elder of the Thomastown Christian Church.
Cpl. Foster and his late wife, Edna Earl Foster, who he was married to for 63 years, have two children: Jamie Foster, 66, and Tommy Foster, 70. He also has seven grandchildren: Cherri Hunt, Barry Foster, Chase Foster, Dylan Foster, Anna Foster, Abby Talkington and Arin Foster.