Foster Family Fire Recovery

Today we need prayer and support. This has been a tragic, yet blessed 24 hours. Friday morning we received a call alerting us that Gail (Richard and David's mom) was being transported to Osceola Regional Hospital as a trauma alert from a fall. Thankfully, though battered and bruised with two dislocated shoulders, after some orthopedic work and stitches she will be on her way to recovery.

Then, around 1:30 a.m., we received another phone call. This time alerting us that Gail's house is on fire. For those that don’t know, Bill passed away several years ago and Gail has maintained their home in order to continue caring for their adopted special needs children, many of them bedridden and requiring ventilators and other specialized medical equipment to survive.

We are thankful for the heroic action of the nurses on duty in the home and at the local hospitals and the St. Cloud Fire Department. Because of their actions, all 11 people are alive and in stable condition.  We are blessed that lives were not lost. We are also numb as we try to wrap our heads around this and begin to charge ahead toward our first challenge- housing for the whole family.

As Gail heals and moves toward discharge from the hospital herself, her focus is on her children as it has been throughout her lifetime. This now comes with a heavy cost. With no house, no medical supplies or equipment, no food, and no medicine for her special needs children, the burden will be beyond what many of us may ever experience. This fund is intended to assist Gail in providing for her children in this desperate time of need.

Please keep us in your prayers as we pray for the Lord’s will and we seek to see His goodness in all of this.

Who is Gail Foster?

Please continue to read below to get to know Gail Foster’s heart for serving special needs children and her community.

**Do you remember the show Extreme Makeover Home Edition? Do you think Gail Foster would be deserving of the Extreme Makeover? You can nominate her at . Of course this will take a while but would be a great long term solution to this new challenge. Please consider telling EMHE all you know about Gail Foster.**

Gail and Bill have fostered nearly 500 children over the past 40+ years, most with special needs or terminal illnesses. Gail and her late husband Bill lived in the house she lost this morning since 1996. They began fostering children around 1978. Loving children so much and seeing the need for special needs children to be adopted, they did so for the first time around 1984. At that time, they still lived in the Florida panhandle then moved to Osceola County by 1985. Once in Kissimmee, special needs became their priority. By 1996, when Bill and Gail moved to St Cloud, they began to notice the increased and overwhelming need for adoption of special needs children. Often times these children were all but discarded by family, medical professionals, and even the state systems. Rather than grow weary, the Foster’s strengthened their focus on adopting special needs children and did so as often as possible. Through the years they have adopted 28 children, not only to ensure they received the medical care needed 24 hours a day but also to ensure these children are loved and experience the joy of life regardless of their conditions.

The Fosters have had the pleasure and joy of raising and loving a lot of children. With that comes the sorrow of watching most of them pass away from their terminal illnesses. Yet this did not deter them from loving child after child in need.

Passing by on Alabama Ave, you would never know that humble house loved so many children over the years.  Gail is always in need due to her sacrifice for others yet she never asks for a handout. Quite the opposite, she is always willing to give more to others in need than what she has for herself. As a widow, Gail continues to love and care for her special needs children, setting her own needs aside to ensure they are loved and cared for. Even on this day, probably one of the hardest day of all her years, she has probably given something of herself to help others in need.

Not only did Bill and Gail have a heart for helping children, they had a heart for helping all people. They met through a volunteer Fire Department in South Florida where Gail babysat the Fire Chief’s children and Bill was a Volunteer Fireman. Helping others is part of their personalities, their way of life. On their wedding day, the ceremony was interrupted by a large fire at a local donut shop. The men were racing to the scene in their tuxedos and fighting the fire dressed for a wedding. As their lives together continued, they made their way into Osceola County before 911 dispatching existed here. They volunteered as dispatchers from their home, dispatching volunteer firemen from their Kissimmee home, where they had a phone line to receive emergency calls and a base station to dispatch the volunteers. They are the pioneers of the emergency services we have here today within Osceola County. Little did they know, the same emergency services would stand in the face of danger to save their very own family early this morning.

Thank you Bill and Gail Foster for the example you have set for the world to follow.

Donations (287)

  • Bill & Mary Anne Elia
    • $100 
    • 4 yrs

Fundraising team (3)

Heather Ellis Foster
Raised $3,330 from 38 donations
Saint Cloud, FL
Richard Foster
Mike Sims
Team member
Raised $1,765 from 13 donations
This team raised $26,646 from 236 other donations.

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