Effie Foster is amazing.
The longtime Culpeper resident was honored for her work behind the scenes in Culpeper by the Culpeper Police Department Aug. 22 - receiving the first Amazing Citizen Award at the Combined Neighborhood Watch meeting.
Foster, 87, has lived in Culpeper since 1983. She grew up in Rappahannock and worked for Rappahannock Public Schools while also working for Gayhearts in Culpeper. Her kindness and propensity to take care of others helped her earn the first Amazing Citizen Award - that and her pies.
Known as the “Pie Lady” of Culpeper, she still churns out pies despite breaking her arm last year. She says it depends on what organization and what fundraiser she’s helping, but she said she can still do 25-30 pies a day when needed.
Her pies are famous - serving as desserts at the Brandy Station Volunteer Fire Department chicken dinners, and being offered as desserts at The Country Cafe and at times for the Culpeper Senior Center.
She has also made pies for the Reva Volunteer Fire Department, Castleton Fire Department and for the Culpeper Police Department and Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is something I’ve always done, it’s something I’ve enjoyed doing, so I didn’t see it as anything unusual,” Foster said.
Sherry Thornhill was one of the people who nominated her, recalling her kindness going back decades when her children were younger.
“I used to go to Gayhearts and I’d take my boys - you know you’re young, you’re on a limited income,” Thornhill said in a nomination video presented by the Culpeper Media Network. “I would tell the boys ‘we’re going to get this and we’re going to split it.’ They’d be OK with it, and we’d go in and Miss Effie would say ‘OK boys, don’t look at mom, look at me and tell me what you’d like to eat.’ She would just fix them something to eat and at the end she’d give them a grilled donut with ice cream on top. They just thought that was awesome. I’d get a ticket for $2 and I’d say ‘Effie, this isn’t right.’ And she would say it was. They would pick up the rest of it. She was just so amazing. She has helped so many people out.”
Joan Byrnes is a longtime friend and marvels at her energy and spunk at 87 years old.
“She bakes pies for anybody and everybody, she’s just so giving,” Byrnes said. “She’s just so empathetic. Other than her family, I think that’s what she lives for is helping others.”
Foster is not one to brag about her accomplishments. While many may have had her pies - few probably realize that it comes from her humble kitchen.
Her stepson Don Foster said she relishes the opportunity to help others.
“It’s probably what keeps her going, helping others,” he said.
That, and the love for her family.
She has 12 children, 26 grandchildren, 50 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.
“She is the heartbeat of the family,” Don’s wife Donna Foster said.
Culpeper Town Police officer Brittany Jenkins introduced Effie to a crowd that filled the community room at the police department.
“Tonight we are here to honor a member of our community who is extraordinary and doesn't hear it as much or isn’t in the limelight but is well deserving,” Jenkins said.
The Amazing Citizen Award, the brainchild of CPD Chief Chris Jenkins, was made to honor those who do amazing things in the community but are not at the forefront.
“Effie you have spent a lifetime giving and taking care of other folks,” Chief Jenkins said. “We could all learn a big lesson from Effie Foster. Tonight we just say thank you for all you’ve done.”
Byrnes said the award is a great addition to Culpeper.
“There’s a lot of people in our community that people know them, but they don’t really know what they do,” Byrnes said. “What a better way to start than with Effie.”