TASD Foundation honors 'Distinguished Alumni'
Vickery Jr. and Ellen Judson Foust inducted in Troy
TROY - Gerald W. Vickery Jr. and Ellen Judson Foust had something in common Thursday morning.
They were the newest inductees into The Troy Area School District Foundation's Distinguished Alumni Hall.
The induction ceremony was held at Memorial Auditorium in Troy. Each year, the Foundation Board honors people "who have had a lasting impact on the school district, the community, and at times, the nation and the world."
According to a news release, Vickery graduated from Troy High School in 1956, Gettysburg College in 1960 and Simmons School of Mortuary Science in 1962, when he joined the Vickery Funeral Home in Troy, founded by his father in 1946.
Vickery's son, Bruce, spoke about his dad, who he said was unable to attend, due to declining health. His other son, Bill, accepted the honor on his father's behalf, noting the elder Vickery has been "an excellent father."
"We are very blessed and very thankful," he said.
In making his remarks, Bruce Vickery began with a well-known local fact, that his dad scored the first touchdown in the first Old Shoe Game, back in the 1950's.
Bruce Vickery said that although his father wasn't a doctor, senator, judge, or war hero, he believed his dad made a difference for each and every family he served at the funeral home, in their time of loss. His dad treated each family like his own, and consoled them and empathized with them, he said.
Bruce Vickery noted that his father treated his profession with dignity, and was on call 24 hours a day - in the days before cell phones.
He noted how his dad's heart was touched recently when the football team stopped at his house after the game, and surprised him by giving him the game ball signed by each player. He said it's something his dad cherishes and proudly displays.
His message to the student body attending the ceremony was that everyone can make a difference, even if someone isn't making straight A's or scoring the winning touchdown or is sitting at the end of the bench.
"An old African proverb says anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room," he said, a comment that connected with the audience.
The Foundation noted that inductee Vickery served as Bradford County Deputy Coroner for 35 years, and is a 45-year member and past president of the Troy Chamber of Commerce. While active in the Troy Lion's Club he received the Melvin Jones Award, the highest honor conferred to a Lion in recognition of humanitarian efforts, was President of the Bradford/Sullivan County Lions Eye Bank and named its 1987 "Lion of the Year." His efforts in the community have included the Troy Hospital, Martha Lloyd School, Ambulance Association, Troy Swimming Pool, Boy Scouts and Little League. He is a member of the Troy United Methodist Church. Jerry served on the board of the Troy Area School District Foundation, the Trojan Booster Club and as a past president of the Troy Alumni Association.
According to the Foundation, inductee Foust graduated from Troy High School graduating in 1954 and from Mansfield University in 1958. She graduated from Mansfield University in 1958 with a BS degree in Home Economics. She is a farm wife to Joey Foust and a mother of five children. She has been co-owner and operator of Foust Buses since 1973. She is a member of and the organist for the Windfall United Methodist Church. Ellen's volunteer activities have included Cooperative Extension Board, Bureau of Children and Youth Services Board, 4-H BLaST Intermediate Unit Board, and Windfall Grange. She has held offices with Alparon Park and the Troy Fair Association. Ellen served on the Troy Area School Board from 1981-1989 and has served as the Troy Area School District Foundation Board's vice president since its inception.
At the ceremony, her daughter, Libby Foust, spoke, noting she was honored to do so.
She said her mother's legacy proves that a person's worth is based on their moral values, integrity, dedication to family and friends, and the lasting impact that they have on a person or community. She said her mother possessed all these qualities, even from a young age. She noted her mother's many duties on the farm and with the family businesses, in addition to her long time of service as organist for her church.
"She has helped pack Christmas baskets for needy families through the Lions Club for as long as I can remember," she said, noting her mom never lost sight of her role as a mother and a giver.
"She is the first to respond with a meal for a grieving family or a quilt for a newborn baby. I remember the time when she and dad got in their pickup after a bad storm came through, and they went around and handed money to total strangers that they saw whose homes were flooded."
Also, she noted that her mother doesn't speak ill of others, and has always reminded her children to be thankful and patient.
She said her mother is the person who people call to get something done, and she always responds.
"She continues to give of herself every day, often working behind the scenes with little to no recognition" while others take the spotlight.
In addition, Libby Foust also shared some lighthearted stories. She noted her mom's skill as a seamstress and how she has a "funny thing" about curtains.
"We'd be driving along and we'd notice a big, fancy house and we'd be commenting how nice it looks, and mom would say, 'but look, the curtains look awful.'"
She said they could always count on mom to take care of the curtains, when they moved into a new home or apartment.
Then, she shared how her mother endured an illness several years ago, and how that "turned our world upside down."
She said her mom never complained once, never felt sorry for herself, and never gave up and pulled through.
"When the time comes in your lives when you are ready, willing and able to make a difference in another person's life, I encourage you to do so," Libby said. "The rewards don't come in cash, they come in ways much more precious than you can imagine."
"It is who you are in the end that counts."
She thanked her mother, and told her, "God Bless you and we love you."
When it came time for her to speak, Ellen Foust commented, "I just can't believe I did all those things," which drew some laughs.
"And if weren't for my family, I wouldn't have been able to do that," she said, noting they have been very understanding. She expressed her pride in her children, noting they have grown up to be responsible individuals. She thanked the student body in attendance.
In addition, she had members of the class of 1954 stand up, and thanked them for coming.
The ceremony began at 10 a.m. and was followed by a reception. High school students and staff, alumni and the inductees' family and friends attended, and the public was invited. The inductees' framed portrait photographs will be placed alongside those of past inductees in Memorial Auditorium. In total, 19 individuals "who have made an impact on school and community" have been honored. Clyde Robbins chairs the Foundation's selection committee and Evan Williams Jr. is the President.
There was much applause for both inductees.
Williams thought there was more members of the public attended this year, and had kind words for the inductees.
Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: firstname.lastname@example.org