REM Award Honorees (2009) — Herb Foster (Kotlas Connection)

Herb Foster has been active in the Connection since 2002, the year he retired from teaching Foreign Languages in SAD 47, the Messalonskee School District. Herb, who had majored in Russian at Middlebury College, looked at this involvement as a way to renew his acquaintance with Russia and its language, which had become very rusty in the intervening forty-plus years. A trip to Kotlas with the 2002 delegation from Waterville convinced him that he had made the right choice.

In late 2003 Herb became co-chairman of the Connection and served in that capacity for four years. He again visited Kotlas in 2005, this time with his wife Nancy, as part of that year’s delegation. Both times Herb stayed with the Ivan Shelygin family, and members of that family have been the Fosters’ guests three times. In fact the Fosters have hosted members of five Kotlas delegations.

Herb has been involved in all of the Connection’s activities, and especially enjoyed cooking Russian foods for the Voices of the Kennebec festival. His favorite current involvement is teaching a forty-minute introductory Russian language class at Russian Sampler, the Connection’s day of workshops on Russia and Russian culture for middle schoolers held each March at Colby College.

Herb encouraged Milton Christianson, a well-known local artist, to travel to Kotlas to participate in a plein air painting seminar. Herb has also been involved in the sale of Russian-made Christmas ornaments, which is a major fund-raiser for the Connection.

Outside the Connection, Herb is an avid gardener and hiker. Since Nancy retired, the Fosters they have been spending much of every winter in Mexico.

It is with great pleasure and gratitude that the Kotlas Connection honors Herb Foster as its REM Award recipient for 2009.

For more information about the Kotlas - Waterville Area Sister City Connection, please visit its website.

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