Taneytown Mayor Pro Tem Diane Foster was named as the 26th recipient of the Carroll County Human Relations Commission's Human Relations Award at its annual dinner on March 26 at The Forum at McDaniel College.
According to a March 17, 2002 article in The Baltimore Sun, Virginia Harrison, the commission's chair explained, "We try to pick people who have tried to promote human relations above and beyond what most people would do…" Characteristics which certainly seem to describe the life and work of Foster according to the many dignitaries, elected officials, and community leaders that attended the event.
"I have had the pleasure of getting to know Diane through our service on the Board of Human Services Programs of Carroll County, Inc. (HSP)," said Lynn Wheeler, the executive director of the Carroll County Public Library, who earned the commission's award several years ago. "I admire Diane's focus and commitment to the goal of providing shelter, housing, and many other programs that alleviate poverty in Carroll County."
At the awards dinner, Taneytown Economic Development Director Nancy McCormick provided additional insight in the work and career of Foster: "As I look around the room I see so many familiar faces and only wish more people out in the world could see how people in this room have made a difference."
Taneytown City Councilman and writer Joe Vigliotti agreed.
"It would be impossible to go somewhere in this county that has not been affected by Mayor Pro Tem Foster's kindness, her volunteerism, and her good heart," he said. "She really is woven into the fabric of Carroll, and through her service she helps, assists, and supports people here in ways many would never ordinarily realize. And that's the true test for any servant of God who ends up in a place of public service — to do good, and not be known for it. But that's why the rest of us have to celebrate the good that she has done."
"Diane moved from Baltimore area to Taneytown in 2006 after her retirement from the Social Security Administration where she interacted with all levels of government up to and including the White House," said McCormick.
Foster was first elected to the Taneytown City Council in May 2009. Over the years she has also served on the St. Joseph Catholic Church parish council, the Maryland Municipal League Legislative Committee, Human Services Program of Carroll County, Meals on Wheels, Taneytown Heritage – and Main Street Committees, Carroll County Department of Economic Development, and on the board of the Securityplus Federal Credit Union.
Mayor James L. McCarron observed: "Diane has been an excellent Mayor Pro Tem and city council member. Diane puts thought in to all she does and I welcome her advice and counsel. Her involvement in the City and our community at large — Carroll County and beyond — is remarkable and commendable."
"When I first met Diane I was struck by how friendly and sincere she was…," Taneytown Council Member Judith K. Fuller said. "Over the years I've been even further impressed by her passion in helping people, her diligence in solving problems and most importantly her unassuming demeanor. She doesn't need attention, she works for results. I admire her ability to balance all of her responsibilities … She is an inspiration."
In addition to her responsibilities with Taneytown, Foster also serves on the Carroll Community College Board of Trustees. According to Trish McCarthy Carroll, the public relations officer, she was appointed to the board by Gov. Martin O'Malley on July 1, 2012.
"The Carroll Community College Board of Trustees elected Foster as the new board chair at its meeting on June 15, 2016..," according to an August 1, 2016 article in Carroll Magazine by writer Lisa Moody Breslin.
Community leader Dave Bollinger said after the dinner, "Diane and I have served on the Board of Trustees for Carroll Community College for several years together. … She is a true advocate for our students and understands the value of education in our community. … We are very fortunate she has time for us in her very busy schedule."
In an email interview after the event, James D. Ball, the president of Carroll Community College said, "On behalf of the entire [college] community, we congratulate Diane Foster on receiving this prestigious award and thank her for her continued leadership and commitment to the College. … Diane is passionate about ensuring student success and keeps our students at the forefront of every decision that's made by the Board. This honor is truly well deserved."
The Human Relations Commission of Carroll County was formed in 1989 to help foster unity and harmony by working to prevent and remedy discrimination as defined under Maryland law. In addition to the commission chair, Harrison, current members are Jackie Thomas, Thomas Deveny, Jean Lewis, and Pam Zappardino.
Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.