Fire department mourns loss of longtime NC parade announcer



Hope Foster has worked for a North Carolina fire department for decades and has been a parade announcer for 50 years.

Screenshot from Saluda Fire & Rescue on Facebook

The longtime North Carolina parade announcer “always had a smile on his face and a joke in his back pocket.”

William Harold “Hope” Foster — who also officiated honorary fire chief — died after decades of service in Western North Carolina. He was 80 years old.

“Saluda really lost a.” devoted servant community,” according to an obituary posted on the McFarland Funeral Chapel website.

Foster joined the all-volunteer department in the 1950s, “serving in every position possible from superintendent to later president of the board of directors,” according to an obituary and a Jan. 5 Facebook post. in Saluda fire and rescue unit.

“He was always very proud of our accomplishments and was always a team player,” the fire department wrote.

In addition to his role as a firefighter, Foster worked with a local school, a funeral home and the Saluda United Methodist Church. He enjoyed playing golf and looked forward to hosting the annual Kusan Day festival. and parade, according to his obituary and the Times-News of Hendersonville.

Foster has become synonymous with the event, which in the past has attracted many dogs and thousands of people to Saluda, a town of about 700 residents, according to historical and tourist sites. The event was reportedly created in the 1960s after people sought to restore the raccoon population in the area.

Officials said Foster, who was married for 62 years, “will be sorely missed.” Such sentiments were echoed on Facebook, where more than a dozen people mourned his death.

“He was a good man and loved his community and it showed in his commitment to all things Saluda,” one person commented on a fire department post.

Another person wrote: “Boy did he likes golf! I remember him telling me how big my range was and how much I appreciated his knowledge.’

Saluda is about 35 miles southeast of the mountain tourist destination of Asheville.

Simone Jasper is a reporter who covers breaking news for The News & Observer and real-time news in the Carolinas.

Fire department mourns loss of longtime NC parade announcer

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