Published 10:45 am Tuesday, September 13, 2016
CORAPEAKE – Since his arrival in Gates County 13 years ago, Foster Parrish has acted as though he had lived here all his life.
Retired from Cavalier Ford in Chesapeake, VA, Parrish opted not to use his days sitting and wasting time. Rather, he busied himself through volunteerism…and not with just one organization.
“While I might be slowing down a bit now at the age of 77, I still enjoy helping others,” said Parrish. “You might say I have a lot of part-time jobs that don’t pay a dime.”
Rather, the reward comes in recognition.
Recently, Parrish received the “Change Makers and Do-Gooders” award from the Lipton Tea Factory in Suffolk, VA. Nominated by Lipton Tea – Suffolk employee Butch Cochran, a fellow resident of Corapeake, Parrish was the first-ever recipient of this esteem honor.
“I would put this award high on my list of honors, right up there with my Ruritan (Club) of the Year award,” Parrish said.
By the way, Parrish is a three-time winner of the Ruritan of the Year Award as presented by the Corapeake Ruritan Club, an organization he helped establish upon his transition from Curritick to Gates County in 2003.
“It’s really hard to explain how I feel…just feel honored to be recognized by a company as famous as Lipton Tea,” Parrish said.
“I received the very last Service Above Self Award given by the Gatesville Ruritan Club before they folded, and now to be recognized with the very first ‘Change Makers and Do-Gooders’ award from the Lipton Tea Factory up in Suffolk, it makes you feel good about what you’re doing to help others in need,” he added.
The honor from Lipton Tea came with a $250 monetary award. True to form, Parrish had Lipton Tea donate that money directly to the Ruritan National Foundation.
In his nomination, Cochran called Parrish, “not only a great friend and neighbor to me, but to the entire community.”
Cochran pointed out that Parrish has served as a Ruritan National Director, representing the Albemarle District, on two occasions (1999 and 2008). Parrish has also served as President of the Corapeake Ruritan Club for six years.
Outside of his Ruritan duties, Parrish is also a volunteer with an organization that has delivered over 2,000 blankets to the homeless throughout North Carolina. He also serves as a volunteer driver, delivering food to Gates County GEMS and the Upper Room Assembly Food Bank every Friday.
Twice a month, Parrish participates in the Meals on Wheels program, delivering hot lunches to the needy in the Corapeake community.
Parrish serves on the Gates County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors; is a board member for the Corapeake Station of the Sunbury Volunteer Fire Department; and is a member of the Gates County Board of Adjustment.
Among his Ruritan duties is serving as an Albemarle District board member of Project Patriot.
“We help military veterans that have fallen through the cracks of the system; if they need something, we’re there for them,” Parrish noted of Project Patriot.
And even on his day of rest, one can find Parrish attending Eureka Baptist Church in Corapeake, where he serves on various committees.
Parrish even finds time to work at the Corapeake Country Restaurant.
“Everything from peeling potatoes, busing tables, to sweeping the floor,” Parrish said of his “paid” gig.
And it’s a safe bet that if Foster Parrish cannot be found performing any of his volunteer jobs or the paid one at the restaurant, you can spot him sending a friendly wave from his front porch in “downtown” Corapeake.