When Mary F. Foster retired five years ago, she knew she didn't wantto spend her time dozing in a rocking chair. She wanted to become involved in the community.
Now her neighborhood volunteer work is spreading throughout the state.
The 64-year-old Linthicum Heights resident, president of the Linthicum chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons, has just been appointed assistant state director of Maryland's chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons.
As assistant state director, Foster will help coordinate activities for 11 chapters in the Baltimore region. She will counsel the groups and also provide information on AARP for people interested in starting a local chapter.
Foster joined her local AARP, the nation's leading organization for people age 50 and over, when she and her husband moved to Linthicum Heights four years ago. She was elected secretary and then president of the chapter.
She was appointed to the state position just after being re-elected president of the local chapter.
A retired senior accountant at Amoco Oil Co. in Curtis Bay, Foster is active in many other community organizations, including both church and civic groups.
Her retirement finally gave her the chance to volunteer for groups she once admired from afar.
"When I worked, I didn't really have time to get involved in too much," she said. "I made up my mind that when I retired I was not going to be an old lady in a rocking chair."
These days, she not only works with AARP, but also is an active member of the Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights, chairs the neighborhood's Beautification and Garden Committee, and serves on the Community Health and Volunteer Services Committee.
She is first vice-president and a past president of the Amoco Retirees Alumni Club, a member of the Civic League of Baltimore City and a Notre Dame Alumnae member.
Foster attends St. Philip Neri Church, but is ecumenical, participating in other church groups as well.
She belongs to the Evelyn Keller Guild of the Methodist Church, a group that performs good worksfor the community. She also volunteers with Meals on Wheels through the Lutheran Social Services, and is a member of Eastern Star-Arundel80 Chapter.
In her spare time, she works with the Ann Arundel Historical Society and the Yak Rem Pek Ladies Shrine.
"I just enjoy people," she said, explaining her community work.
AARP provides legislative advocacy, research, information programs and community services through a network of local chapters staffed with volunteers. AARPalso offers members a wide range of special membership benefits, including Modern Maturity magazine and the monthly Bulletin.
Two large AARP chapters are alive in the Linthicum area. The Linthicum Heights AARP No. 2244 meets the first Monday of every month at St. John's Lutheran Church, 300 W. Maple Road. Social hour is at noon, with the meeting at 1 p.m. George Bottiger is the new president.
The other chapter, Patapsco Valley No. 3850, meets on the fourth Wednesday of each month at St. Christopher Church Hall, 116 Marydell Road. George Surgeon is president.